From the “Dillon and the Brother From Brooklyn” File…

By Sean E. Ali

 

So…

Over the weekend Mr. Derrick Ferguson, of the Brooklyn Fergusons, wrote a bunch of very complimentary things about me (or someone who at least uses my name really well) and our upcoming collaboration on the 10th anniversary edition of DILLON AND THE VOICE OF ODIN

Which, I guess means the cat is out of the bag.

And as nice as it is to hear these wonderful things, I’m a lot like Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes in one respect: the work is what matters most to me…

So FINALLY I can talk about the project and the plans for the road ahead AND answer a few PMs publicly asking what I guess was the obvious question for some…

“Are you leaving Pro Se or something?”

The short answer is no. Pro Se is a long term commitment for at least another year or so and Tommy Hancock is working to free me up to do something other than lay out books…

Sure things end eventually, look at the great teams of my beloved comics like Lee and Kirby, or Lee and Ditko, Englehart and Rogers, Claremont and Byrne, Frank Miller and sanity…

…I mean that’s just the way of the universe and time and people. Folks move on eventually, but in the case of Hancock and Ali or Pro Se and Ali, that little arrangement still has miles to go before we sleep…

But I am an artist/designer for hire and occasionally it’s nice to be able to stretch out creatively in other places and sit in with other creative folks and just have a good old fashioned jam session…

And the secondary question…

“Why Dillon?”

Good question.

I’ve read Derrick’s version of events, but let’s go from where I got interested in Dillon, which is roughly five years ago.

The first Derrick Ferguson book I read was ODIN. It was suggested by a friend who knew I was looking for the impossible (in my mind) a well written action hero, who happened to look like me. Dillon didn’t disappoint. In fact, what Dillon did was give me an action hero that I honestly forgot looked like me. Dillon’s not a “Black Hero”, but a hero who happens to be Black. There is a distinct difference and in this case it was one that played even better.

Dillon holds his own with pretty much any action hero you want to put on the table. I could say “Dillon’s like Hero X” and you can’t help but see similarities to other great action heroes, but Dillon was uniquely his own man off the top. Plus the racial side of the equation (at least from a USA perspective) just doesn’t exist as a major factor. Dillon dives in, takes on whatever the mission is, kicks much behind along the way and blows a lot of stuff up. Plus, Derrick’s the only person I’ve read that can write a verbal car chase worthy of the Blues Brothers…

When Tommy told me he had landed Derrick as a part of the Sovereign City Project at Pro Se, it’s possible I was more excited about it than he was. We didn’t do a direct collaboration on THEĀ ADVENTURES OF FORTUNE McCALL, but I tried to do his book justice. Later on, I hunted down the rest of the Dillon solo adventures I could get my hands on and Dillon is pretty much one of my personal favorites…

So during that time, I was lucky enough to be asked to do the cover for DILLON AND THE PIRATES OF XONIRA by Derrick and the job was pretty fun and I got to know Derrick behind the scenes as a cat I’d easily hang out with who just happens to be an exceptional writer. But it was a one off, and a rare deviation away from Pro Se and I grateful for the opportunity and moved back into the fan section…

…Which probably led to the thing that got me tapped for this gig…

In between Pro Se gigs I “doodle” in Photoshop. I create stuff that will probably never see the light of day commercially, but it’s fun to do. One of my doodles was an idea for a full blown big budget Dillon flick. Here at the DILLON site, he spitballs ideas for casting for a Dillon movie series and I wanted to do a visual on that, but I wanted to avoid using the celebrities mentioned and pull together stock images and do a Dillon which wouldn’t run into any major legal issues if I posted it somewhere…

The result was a poster so authentic, that when I posted it a few wondered if I had blown some super secret licensing deal that Derrick had pulled off. What was just the gravy on the whole thing was hearing from the creator of the a character who tells me I nailed the essence of what his hero looked like. Given I had to literally build a Dillon (this man doesn’t exist in the image he’s a compilation sort of like Frankenstein without the blow back) I was glad the image was so well received…

Fast forward a few months down the road and I was invited to put that visual to work as a book cover and to design future covers using the same method. I negotiated the book design part of the job and we were on…

It’s kind of nice to go from standing outside the candy shop with your nose pressed against the window, to getting all your candy…

As for the attached image, what Dillon adventure does this belong too?

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No idea. I was just doodling.

Which is kind of how I got into this in the first place…

Coming fairly soon, the 10th Anniversary Edition of DILLON AND THE VOICE OF ODIN, by Derrick Ferguson – published by PulpWork Press…

…aided and abetted by Yours Truly

It’s been revised, added to and touched up, so you’ll want to get a copy…

Let me get back to it…

Be good to yourselves and each other.

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