by Glenn Matchett


Welcome back again for another look into the indie comics scene and exploring books that you may not have heard of and if you’re looking for something a little different are dying to discover!

In the last few weeks I’ve focused and talked a lot how the internet can help small press companies get noticed and how it can help creators get their work out there. This week I want to talk about a comic that is both using digital and print mediums to tell their story in ‘THE DARK HOURS’ by Luciano Barsuglia and Kyle Roberts which is published by BLB Media.

‘THE DARK HOURS is a tale about a town called Redemption which casts a long dark shadow and has a few hidden secrets awaiting any would be visitor or (in this case) reader. Set in the old west, THE DARK HOURS is a three issue miniseries which follows a stranger visiting the town who is bent on restoring order and justice against a supernatural foe that has spawned from the depths of hell. Having already released one issue, THE DARK HOURS had its second recently debut at Wondercon last month and the final issue is set for later this year.

It seems that the title takes on two genres which with GrayHaven has had some success with: Western and Horror (themes so popular we’re combining them into a graphic novel this year). In this take it seems the creative team of Barsuglia and Roberts are setting an old west town against a barrage of the familiar creature of the night, Vampires.

Like many GrayHaven creators both Barsuglia and Roberts have spent years and a great deal of effort crafting their story and seem to have delivered great results. They offer the comic for print for $3.99 or through their website for $2.99 . THE DARK HOURS will be available through Comixology soon, in the meanwhile digital copies of each issue are available at

Printed copies of The Dark Hours are available through IndyPlanet

Comic stores looking to carry the Dark Hours should contact them directly info@darkhourscomic for wholesale prices.

You can find a link to find out more about them and the book at their site here: and be sure to check out their facebook also and give them a like if you enjoy what you see here:


Comic Page




GH: Tell us more about yourself Kyle!  When did you first get interested in comics and what caused you to decide to make your own?

KYLE: I first got into comics in the mid 80’s when I was about 12 years old. I distinctly remember buying Avengers #271 off a spinner rack at a supermarket and went crazy for comics after reading it.  After a few years of serious comic book collecting I gravitated away, but every so often I return back to the fold.  Sometimes I’m back in for just a few months other times for a few years, but the cycle has persisted for over 25 years now.

After settling into my career as a teacher I really had the urge to do something creative. Maybe it was an early mid-life crisis, but I really wanted to do more with my art.  Initially I began looking into MFA programs, but I wasn’t willing to sacrifice so much time and energy away from my family.  What I needed was something that would soothe my creative itch, be challenging enough to keep my attention yet flexible enough to work within my already impacted schedule.  It just so happened that at that same time a friend and colleague approached me with an idea to collaborate on a graphic novel. The seed was planted.
GH: How did you come to meet Brian?

KYLE: Brian and I are both teachers at the same high school. Brian teaches English while I teach Art. We met my first year, which was six years ago, during our shared prep period in the faculty lounge.  Casual conversations about movies and books led us to discover shared interests and as we became closer friends we began to discuss collaborating on a project.  Brian had experience self-publishing a few novels he had written and had also produced and directed several independent films.  His energy and creativity combined with the moxie to actually do was inspiring. Shortly thereafter we began developing a property Brian had created, The Dark Hours, as a comic book series.
GH: Can you tell us more about BLB and how fellow independent creators might go about getting their work released through them?

KYLE: BLB Media is a production company with ties to several independent film outlets.   The Dark Hours is the business’s first foray into the comic book industry.  We are a very small company and everything we do is generated in house.  We are not large enough yet to seek out or accept work from other writers or artists at the moment, but we have had preliminary talks to bring in outside talent on future projects once the mini-series concludes.  Interested parties should give us a like and follow us on Facebook for to be kept abreast of announcements regarding our future projects.
GH: Tell us more about your  evolution as an artist.  Where did you study and who did you find were your major inspirations?

KYLE: For as long as I can remember I’ve been drawing. When I got into comics the art of John Buscema, Kevin Maguire and the Pander brothers really inspired and influenced me. Later, while studying illustration at Cal State Fullerton I was fortunate to land a job as an assistant inker at Rob Liefeld’s Extreme Studios. For nearly three years I was able to live out the dream of working in the comic industry while assisting and learning the craft from guys like Danny Miki, Jonathan Sibal and Marlo Alquiza. The books we were putting out were pretty forgettable, as was most of the mid-90’s comics, but those guys were amazing artists and I learned, and then subsequently forgot, a ton from them.  From there I bounced around a bit as a watch artist at Disneyland to a conceptual artist in the automotive industry. Day after day of literally trying to reinvent wheels, aftermarket rims to be precise, left me to wanting to do something more meaningful, which again seems to be a repetitive theme in my life. So back to college at age 30 it was to get my credential and become a teacher. Now each day I draw inspiration from my students and the amazing work they produce.

GH: You mentioned on the website that the Dark Hours has been years in the making.  Want to tell us about some of the struggles you’ve faced to have it come to life and any advice you would give to any other small press creator looking to create their own stories from what you’ve learned?

KYLE: There were several starts and stops at the beginning.  Most of it had to do with me being unsettled on character design and style choices. I wasn’t confident in the work I was doing and found myself going back quite a bit and redrawing pages or rearranging panels.  About that time a former student introduced me to a book called Art and Fear, which admittedly I didn’t read completely, but I gleaned enough to see how my insecurities were sabotaging my own work.

Once I accepted that the comic was as much about my personal experience making it as it was for our intended audience reading it I found it far easier to set and meet deadlines. It also became liberating to begin experimenting and taking chances with my layouts, discovering my own personal style while the advancing the completion of the book, rather than ruminating and redrawing the same page over and over again. So if I were to give any advice it would be to consider yourself and your growth during the art making process, continue pushing forward, accept the work that you’ve completed and know that the next page you write or draw will be better than the one that preceded it.
GH: How did Dark Hours come about initially?

KYLE: The Dark Hours was written by Brian over a decade ago as a screenplay for a feature film.  When the two of us began discussing collaboration projects he dusted it off and offered it up as a possible graphic novel.  I thought the story and characters Brian had created had real potential so we began adapting it.  We made a few tweaks to the story and characters then broke it up into three chapters to release it as a mini-series. Graphic novels and trades are fine, just like binge watching, but I really prefer the serial. Having the time to digest and reflect on increments of the story then try to predict what will happen next is my preferred story experience. After that, all that was left was for me to draw it, ink it and letter it.  No problem, right?
GH: As I mentioned in the overview it seems that vampires (along with zombies) have become the big thing to do.  What sets your book apart?

KYLE: The genre is certainly at the forefront of pop horror culture at the moment, but truthfully can you think of a time where there weren’t vampire movies being made or vampire books being written? Vampire stories have been around forever and will continue to be around because they symbolize the single greatest fear we all share, death. That universal fear isn’t going anywhere anytime soon and neither is the vampire. Now we’ve taken a liberty or two with common vampire mythology to make our vampires unique in our story, primarily mode and means of procreation/infection, but there is no day-walking or glittering in our story. No sexy emo Victorian vampires lamenting their immortality. This is the American frontier, dammit! Our vamps are hard boiled and come hell or high water they’ll get what they came for no matter the cost!
GH: You also sell your work at cons yes?  What advice would you give to people selling at cons about getting noticed among all there is on offer?

KYLE: Absolutely! First and foremost choose your conventions wisely. Bigger is not always better. Know your audience and know what type of audience certain conventions attract.  A large mainstream super hero/cosplay convention may not the best place to market and sell a self-published vampire western comic…lesson learned, Wonder Con, lesson learned…but we’re totally going back next year.

There are tons of articles online that will tell what you should have at, behind or on your table at a convention to set yourself apart, I think most of those things will just make you look like everyone else. Work with what you’ve got, sometimes a minimalist approach works best.

Truthfully what draws a crowd is you engaged with a customer. Invariably when you are mid-pitch with one person a group will gather directly behind that one person. You’ll be pitching a semi-interested person while all of these curious eager faces will lean in to passively hear what you’re all about.  You can’t abandon your initial pitch because that would just be rude, but how do you get these potential customers up to your booth so you can sell them properly on your book while still keeping the first customer on the hook? Why your booth buddy of course! Your booth buddy is a person that is warm and outgoing, not just someone who will watch the cash box while you use the restroom.  This person does not have to be involved with the creation of your comic and in some cases it is better that they didn’t.  A good booth buddy can engage the background onlookers, provide a fan perspective of your comic and introduce you at your table.  A booth buddy should also be skilled at running down those no comic buying cosplayers so you can at least get a picture of them holding your book…still harboring resentment towards the guy dressed as Abraham Lincoln Vampire Slayer who in no way shape or form wanted to hear anything about my comic at a convention in Long Beach last November.  Seriously, while incredibly fun conventions are physically and emotionally draining.  You’ll want and need the support.

GH: Obviously we have the final issue of Dark Hours coming out later this year but what else can we expect from either yourself or Brian?

KYLE: Brian always has something going on!  He is currently in the final stages of production on his fourth feature film, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  It is a true-to-text adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s novella. The film is aiming for anOctober 4, 2014 release. More information on the film can be found here:  As I finish illustrating The Dark Hours I’m actively developing a few other comic book projects, one of which continues the story of Redemption, the central town of The Dark Hours.  It’s an exciting time for both of us and we look forward to bringing these stories and more to life in the near future!

GH: What indie comic should people be reading right now?

KYLE: Two favorite indie titles of mine right now are Bigfoot: Sword of the Earthman by Josh S. Henaman and Above the Clouds by Melissa Pagluica.  They’re both amazing indie comics with high production value, great art and even better storytelling. Definitely seek them out, you can thank me later.





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