Ladies and gentlemen, I have some new characters I’m introducing today. These characters will exist in their own works but do exist in the Sunnyville Stories universe as well, leaving the possibility of guest appearances and crossovers open. Now let’s get started.
The Green Max is an ace pilot anthropomorphic fox who lives in the town of New Gestad. He’s known for flying various World War I-era aircraft like monoplanes and biplanes; he’s also an inventor who will build gyro-copters and strange aircraft.
I’ve done a few drawings and a couple of comics starring the Green Max. He will be the subject of a second Kickstarter that I will launch sometime in spring. (Stay tuned for more details on that.) He resides in New Gestad but may turn up in Sunnyville on occasion.
Green Max was based on the character of Rudolf Von Flugel from Richard Scarry’s Busytown books. His name comes from the infamous pilot, the Red Baron, as well as from the 1966 movie the Blue Max.
Now, I have something else to reveal – some of you following me on Twitter and Facebook have heard me talking about a “secret project”. It’s now time to reveal what I have done.
I have written and illustrated a children’s picture book.
This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. I have wanted to do picture book illustration. My style would work well in that medium and I have a lot of experience from drawing comics. To that end, I researched what goes into doing picture books and read some of them as research (Marc Brown, Richard Scarry, Chris Van Allsburg, etc).
The stars of this picture book are a pair of foxes I’ve been drawing for ages – Hilda Otejekker and Richard “Richie” Preketzian.
Hilda and Richie reside in the faraway country of Foxville, a micro-state based on places like Lichtenstein, Monaco and San Marino. Hilda is a 20-year-old vixen who is from a centuries-old family and is very rich. How rich? She’s just Scrooge McDuck rich. Residing with her in a spacious mansion is an 8-year-old fox pup by the name of Richie. I don’t want to reveal too much about the little story I’ve put them in. They have their own blog too, which I plan to start serializing their adventures in February.
I spent November and December working on the illustrations and text for the book. Notes exist for at least two more books and I have more ideas. While they do live far away from Sunnyville (in another country in fact), we still may see them turn up in Sunnyville one day.
I know what some of you, fan and detractor alike, may be thinking. Why am I spending all this time on this material other than the main story of Sunnyville?
I like having a shared universe and expanded universe for the Sunnyville characters. Besides having crossovers, I want to make this universe of mine feel deeper and more real. There’s so much going on; I’ve always had the view when I sat down and created the world of Sunnyville. I wanted to make it feel that Sunnyville and its world have existed for ages; it will continue to exist after you put the work down. Rusty and Sam are having all kinds of adventures and are going about their lives when you’re not reading Sunnyville. Other characters exist in their world too like Green Max as well as Hilda & Richie; they too have lives and adventures of their own.
This really makes me feel that I’ve created something worthwhile.
That’s all for now. Don’t forget to pledge to my Kickstarter. Sign up for the Sunnyville Stories mailing list if you haven’t yet. Stop over to DriveThru Comics for digital copies of Sunnyville Stories. Copies of Sunnyville Stories Volume 1 are still for sale on Amazon, both in print and Kindle formats! While you’re there, be sure to pick up Sunnyville Stories Volume 2 and (if you love Gothic horror)Von Herling, Vampire Hunter! And now available is the latest installment of the saga, Sunnyville Stories Volume 3. Get them today!
Copies of all the above titles are available to the library trade via Brodart Company and to retailers from Ingram and Baker & Taylor (via BCH Distribution). Copies are also available direct from the publisher. For ordering information, contact maxwestart(at)gmail(dot)com or write to:
Different Mousetrap Press LLC, 1100 19th Avenue N, #108, Unit J, Fargo ND 58102-2269 USA