A supernatural horror story intertwined with environmental issues so timely they appear to come from the day’s headlines, barely scratches the surface of “Carbon” the latest graphic novel from West Virginia State University (WVSU) Assistant Professor of Communications Daniel “Danny” Boyd.
Set in the southern West Virginia coalfields, “Carbon” tells the story of what happens when an evil coal operator unwittingly awakens and releases a cursed and banished underground civilization onto the surface and the only thing that stands in the way of the end of the world is a disgraced, ex-pro baseball pitcher and a community of courageous coal miners.
“I have been thinking about this for story for nearly 10 years,” said Boyd, who during that time has transitioned from a successful movie-making career into creating award-winning graphic novels. “The primary goal is to entertain, but the story also reflects many real and complicated issues that face the coal industry today.”
Boyd dedicated “Carbon” to “those that toil in darkness – coal miners” and said that whatever side of the debate over the industry you fall on, miners are the often unseen heroes.
Boyd wrote the story for “Carbon” and Brazilian artist Edi Guedes did the artwork. Guedes worked with Boyd on “Chillers,” and has also illustrated such comics as “The Daughters of Merlin” and “Agencies Frontiers.” “Carbon” features an introduction by well-known filmmaker John Sayles, who describes the graphic novel as “an ambitious addition to the long tradition, religious and secular, of that basic cautionary tale – be careful what you dig up.”
The graphic novel will be available first in limited release locally at personal appearances Boyd will be making in West Virginia before being released nationally. “Carbon” is published by Caliber Comics, a leading American comic book publisher that has published over 1,300 comics and helped launched the careers of some of the leading comic book writers and artists in the industry today.
“We decided to launch a limited release of ‘Carbon’ due to the topical nature of the issues that continue to occur in West Virginia regarding coal and water,” said Caliber Comics Publisher Gary Reed. “There’s a sense of immediacy that we wanted to address and feel that ‘Carbon’ taps into the consciousness of people evaluating the dynamics of the coal industry, which is so integral to West Virginia. At the same time, everyone behind ‘Carbon’ recognizes the story has an appeal outside of just those concerned with coal.”
Following the limited, local release in May the graphic novel will be available for order in June for national release in August. “I wanted to have the opportunity to share this story with my fellow West Virginians first, because while ‘Carbon’ is a fantasy story with many mythical elements, it intertwines with real issues and concerns that we are all too familiar with,” Boyd said.
Boyd is an acclaimed filmmaker with dozens of films, including “Chillers,” “Strangest Dreams: Invasion of the Space Preachers” and “Paradise Park” to his credit. In addition to his work at WVSU, Boyd has taught around the world including in Tanzania as a three-time Fullbright Scholar. He has recently moved into graphic novel creation with “Chillers” the graphic novel series. “Chillers Book 1” was a 2012 Shel Dorf nominee for original graphic novel of the year and a Ghastly Award nominee for best horror anthology. “Carbon” will retail for $19.99 and will be available at comic book stores nationwide beginning in August, as well as through select local bookstores, including Charleston’s Taylor Books.
A local party to celebrate the release of “Carbon” will take place at Lost Legion Comics, in South Charleston, on Wednesday, May 21, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Boyd will also appear at Taylor Books on Saturday, May 24, from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. signing copies of “Carbon.” More local appearances will follow throughout the summer, including at Charleston’s FestivALL in June, in advance of the national release of “Carbon” in August.