A couple months ago I opened up my email to find that I had been nominated for Comic Book Creator of the Year by along with two fantastic talents, Christine Larsen and Jared Axelrod. It truly was just an honor to be nominated and have an excuse to dress up in a tux for the first time in years and have a night out with my wife.

The ceremony was held at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University which meant in addition to mingling and having a few cocktails we were able to tour the museum which was a treat in and of itself.

I mean, come on…live alligators for crying out loud!

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And dinosaurs who wanted some alcohol filled delights

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The ceremony began around eight and we got to learn about so many of the other wonderful projects headed by local talents including The Backyard Philly Project (Indie Film of the Year) Open Air Philadelphia (Event of the Year) and Dan Ueda (Geek of the Year) among a dozen others. For a full list of nominees click-

The presenters were well spoken and genuinely funny. Same with the winners. As the award for Best Comic Creator approached, my wife asked if I was nervous and I shook it off. I wasn’t prepared to win. I didn’t write a speech. And with one more award to go before our category I started to think, ‘oh shit what if I do win?’ I’m not a public speaker. There’s a reason I chose writing as a profession. And I’m told I have a habit of closing my eyes when I speak. What!?! Now there was a chance I’d be on stage addressing a room filled with a few hundred of my peers, all of whom have been funny, engaging and passionate about their projects…none of whom ‘ummed and uhhed’ their way through speeches…or closed their eyes.

Eisner nominated creator (and last year’s Geek Award winner) Brad Guigar took to the stage to announce the nominees and that’s when my heart started racing. Just seeing my name up there on the big screen with pages from YOU ARE NOT ALONE flashing as Brad talked about GrayHaven Comics and how we got to this wonderful project filled me with a sense of pride. Win or lose, nearly five years of hard work came down to this moment of recognition.

You see, GrayHaven Comics, and The Gathering in particular, has been about helping other people get recognized. It’s about showcasing talented new writers and artists and creators who haven’t been able to get published. To date we’ve had close to 200 people contribute to our books, up and comers and pro alike. We could not have reached this point without the hard work and contributions from Erich Schoeneweiss, our first production manager, Aaron Bir, John Coker and Chris Chamberline, our art directors, our ridiculously talented editors Ray Goldfield, Doug Hahner, Erica Heflin, Marc Lombardi,  Glenn Matchett, and James O’Callaghan and our families and friends who put up with and support us.

With a couple years of publishing under our belts and a desire to make something more meaningful in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shootings we set out to create our anti bulling graphic novel YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Thanks to a successful crowd funding campaign we’re going to be able to make over 1000 copies of this book available for free to readers who could use the stories in this book as a means to relate and cope with their own difficulties.

Brad called my name and as my beautiful wife shouted and hooted in celebration I gave her a quick kiss and headed up on stage. All I could think of as the crowded cheered and the lights blinded me to their faces was ‘whatamigonnasay’. I shoot Brad’s hand, and received the award…this cool light up number below…

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I made it through the speech. I cracked a little joke. I talked about the history of GrayHaven and why YOU ARE NOT ALONE is such an important project. I didn’t ‘um’ and I didn’t stammer. I remembered to thank my wife. Most of all, I kept my eyes open the entire time. It’s one award out of many out there. It’s one night of recognition out of hundreds of awards and thousands of creators and projects but for that night and that moment it was validation. Validation of the work all those individuals mentioned above have put into this company. I wish we could have all been there together but I share to moment with you all. And this is just the beginning.

Thank you.


For a full list of winners click-


  1. Marc Lombardi August 18, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

    So damn proud of you and so damn proud to be a part of GrayHaven…and the YANA project.

  2. George Amaru August 19, 2013 at 11:36 am #

    Congrats! That’s fantastic! I echo Marc’s sentiments and I’m honored to be one of the cover artists on YANA.

  3. Day Al-Mohamed August 20, 2013 at 12:01 am #

    Well deserved.

    When I first heard about what you and GrayHaven were doing with the YANA project I KNEW it was something special. Most people look at the “bad things” that happen in the world and either shrug it off or lament it or rage against it. You decided to do something to change things.

    That is what makes the difference.

    So damn proud to be a part of what ya’ll are doing.

    Well deserved.

  4. Ronald Montgomery August 20, 2013 at 8:16 am #

    I’m really happy for you. Good job!!!

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