“Goodfellas” and “The Godfather” meet in a coming-of-age comic in James Haick’s latest venture.
A financial adviser by trade, Haick is living his dream with his new comic book series “The Mall” and the summer release of his third volume of “Solar Flare.”
“I can’t believe how awesome it’s been,” he says of the whirlwind he’s lived since the 2015 Kickstarter campaign launched his hobby into a major undertaking. “It’s been crazy good.”
“The Mall,” which takes place in the fictional Royal Palm Mall in Fort Myers in the 1980s, features high school student Diego, who just found out he’s the heir to a portion of his mafia boss father’s criminal enterprise.
Haick will hand out a signed 9-page “ashcan” preview Saturday at Hero Trader in Fort Myers to the first 40 customers, with subsequent signings locally in April. He also will sign copies of the first two editions of Solar Flare.
Scout Comics, of which Haick recently became a partner, will release 50,000 to 80,000 copies nationally of a 16-page preview of “The Mall” as its first Free Comic Book Day offering on May 5.
Haick co-wrote the comic with Don Handfield, a writer/producer of History’s Knightfall and the movie “The Founder” with Michael Keaton. Haick sold half the rights to Handfield after meeting him last year.
Haick describes main character Diego as a Cuban version of Jon Cryer’s role as Ducky in Pretty in Pink. The 9-page preview also introduces two other main characters and “Edison High School” students, Lena and Dallas, as well as a mentor, a gay man who has AIDS, a new disease in the 1980s.
Haick operates Haick and Haick Financial Services in Bonita Springs and is a graduate of Cypress Lake High School. He recalls the height of malls in America as a teen hangout in arcades and friends meeting there, aiming for a “John Hughes-esque” feel.
The latest series will focus on major themes of the decade, including drug abuse and female empowerment, he said. The trio, as outlined in the father’s directions, can take ownership of a music store, pet store and sporting goods store at the mall. They can run them as legitimate businesses, or continue to work on the shady side.
“It was fun, it was engaging and the characters a mixture of realism, humor and ’80s style which I think will certainly appeal to any reader,” said reviewer Rachel Rutherford.
The 16-page issue explains the characters and the series’ concept, Haick said. The 9-page distribution is the “first act” explaining it. The three teens will have equal roles in the series, but the first introduces Diego.
“It’s a pretty in-depth story,” Haick said. “I’m really excited about this one.”
The first issue is 28 pages and can be pre-ordered at Free Comic Book Day for its July release. It will be a five-issue series, released one per season, including, fall, winter and spring.
It differs from “Solar Flare,” which is heading into its third season, set for release in August. The comic is about 22 pages and has six issues per volume. As his hero heads to a government compound in Tennessee, the band has made it to Sarasota to recruit a scientist colleague.
The series follows a small group after the world goes dark after a large X-class solar flare rendered all electronics useless, made cars impossible to start, dried up water systems, and put information highways in a permanent gridlock. The hero also is searching for his young daughter, who was to fly into Fort Myers when the world went dark.
Haick’s third project focuses on a former pro wrestler turned talk show host. He expects to release the first issue, then trade paperback in summer 2019.
If you go
What: James Haick, the writer/creator of Solar Flare and the upcoming series, “The Mall,” will hand out free copies of 9-page The Mall #0 Preview book. He will also sign/sell issues of the hit Scout Comics series, Solar Flare!
When: Noon to 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: Hero Trader, 13251 McGregor Blvd., #106, Fort Myers
Other dates: Noon to 4 p.m. April 24 at Comics Cards and Stuff, 2215 Winkler Ave, Suite J, Fort Myers and noon to 4 p.m. April 31 at Record Trader, 3091 Cleveland Ave, Fort Myers.
Read or Share this story: http://newspr.es/2IeDPBv