Sunday, October 31, 2010

Here It Is: My First Story

Through the ingenuity of Alexander Graham Bell and his mad scientist step-children and their wonderful invention, the Internet, I'm able to present to you, just in time for Halloween, the bone-chilling suspense tale: The Customer Is Always Right.

A mysterious client. Veiled motives. A grizzled mob hit man. Blood and lots of it. The Customer Is Always Right is a dark tale about a young man who goes to hire a hit man—and it doesn’t work out for anyone. With a touch of wry humor, this tense story builds to an unexpectedly bloody conclusion.

If everything is working correctly, off to the right you should see a nifty little gadget that will allow you to read a version of this thrilling tale.

Many thanks to my collaborator Tomás Morón and to Andy Schmidt and my fellow creators at Comics Experience for all the feedback.

In the coming days, I'll have an interview with Tomás as well as many more items--not to mention more stories. Enjoy! And be sure to tell me what you think!


  1. Hi there - just read your comic. What a cool concept! I really enjoyed it. You said in this post that you'd like to know what readers think, so I hope you don't mind that I've written up a few of my reactions. For any other readers, the following comments are spoilery! Make sure to read the comic first.


    I only appreciated the "fridge brilliance" of the concept after the fact. It dawned on me when I started asking myself "Well, why does he need a contractor? Why doesn't he just shoot himself in the head and the... oh right!" :) Really neatly done.

    I was a little bit thrown by the line "He's gotta die. That's all I care about." Coming right after the protag spent a page specifying the exact method and equipment the hitman should use, that apparent nonchalance seemed contradictory. At the story's end, the reader realizes that unless that kid and method were used death wouldn't be a sure thing, so the line is quite logical with hindsight. But the reader can't know that when the line first appears, so it's a little jarring then. The fact that the hitman doesn't call the customer on the apparent contradiction also makes him seem less perceptive than you'd want someone involved in wet work to be.

    I wonder if rephrasing the "number's up" line might make it stronger. "Sometimes your number comes up. Sometimes your number just is up." Or something like that.

    Last point is that I found the opening a little hard to grasp. Of course it's good to start a story "in media res", but somehow this gave me the sense that I'd inadvertently skipped some setup. Not only did I not know who "he" was (which is obviously the desired effect), I wasn't even clear who the protagonist was (which I think probably isn't). Perhaps it's to do with the framing of those initial panels: though the protag's (almost) centered in panel one, he's not facing the reader and he's not the biggest figure on the page. It took me a while to be sure he was the author of the thought balloons.

    I did like the way you characterized the hitman. You got a lot of detail in there in a short time: not the sharpest tool in the box, not the most moral either, but still sparky enough that I cared when he met his grizzly demise. Shiver.

    The twist was neat. I didn't see it coming but with hindsight it was perfectly foreshadowed. Bravo!

  2. Thanks for the positive feedback and the critiques. I'm glad you enjoyed the story. I'm also glad the story stuck with you--at least long enough that you were still thinking about some of the points later.

    You made several good points for me to think about. There's always something to tweak in a story, but I'm glad that you thought the flaws were minor.

    And thanks for being the first to comment! I have several scripts in various stages of production. And this one will soon be appearing in an anthology. To keep up on all the stuff I have going on, follow me on Twitter @TDRBach or subscribe to the feed.