Me: Hey Chuck, what do you think about doing a zombie Civil War book?
Chuck: I’d rather work in a dry cleaners!
And thus began Stonewall’s Arm.
But perhaps I should back up and start this story somewhere nearer the beginning.
On a warm July day, the family and I had loaded up the truck and were headed up to the annual Gettysburg reenactment to hawk my Civil War comic, Civil War Adventure, full of enthusiasm I was intent on spreading the historical comic love. We’d already done more than a few reenactments, and they made pleasant family outing and since we were home-schooling, a good learning experience as well, but as a place to sell books I found them frustrating.
Our books sold well to the public, and especially homeschool families, but frustratingly the one group that was resisting my sales pitch were the reenactors themselves.
So while manning my table in the sweltering heat of the Gettysburg authors tent, I was giving my sales spiel to a small group of re-enactors dressed in their colors. But despite my best efforts, they were resisting me, but not willing to give up the sale; I related the story of how Marvel had turned down my pitch for them to publishing my Civil War graphic novels and how, when they declined, I sarcastically suggested doing a zombie Civil War book. I had expected these serious historical re-enactors to wax indignant at the idea of adulterating the real history with fantasy monsters, (and support that indignation by buying a book). And right on cue, after I’d finished my little story, I was encouraged to see them perk right up, “You mean like Civil War Walking Dead?” One of them asked.
“Yeah, Isn’t that just what you’d expect from superhero—”
“That’d be awesome, I’d really be into that!”
“Yeah, me too!” A second chimed in.
Well, that wasn’t what I was expecting. I didn’t make the sale, but all the way home I thought about their response. Why not a zombie Civil War book?
When we got home, I got on the phone with my publishing partner, Chuck Dixon and asked him that exact question…
I have an unfortunate tendency that when I get an idea in my head, and someone counsels me that my great idea is most likely the result of eating paint chips as a child, that the warning only serves to double my resolve to do excatly what I was just warned not to do. I know this is a form of insanity and I’m usually successful in suppressing it.
But obviously not always.
So I set to work thinking about how I could do a zombie Civil War book that wasn’t just The Marching Dead, one that wouldn’t be just a lame Walking Dead rip-off set in the antebellum period.And since I love Stonewall Jackson, he naturally came to mind…and the rest, as they say, is history!