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History of the Wild Stars -- The New Millennium!

michaelphoto1 by Michael Tierney

As the New Millennium started, I was ready to get started, as well. Like an impatient racehorse stamping at the starting line, I'd been chomping at the bit throughout the previous decade, ready to make more Wild Stars. I had a wealth of Wild Stars history already chronicled, and Volume Three of the comics completely mapped out.

Now it was time to just do it!

Shown above is the limited edition set of six of my Seventies novels.
Top Row: Nebula 71 (written in 1971); Ceobra (1974); The Catalyst (1976); Moonshadow (1978); Wild Stars Rising (1976-77).
Bottom Row: First Marker (1978); and the prequel/sequel to First Marker, Under the Wild Stars from the 1990s.

One of the best things that I did with Wild Stars Volume 3 was to hire Frank Brunner to do the covers I've got to tell you, he pours his heart into his work. For issue #2, Frank spent an entire day inking just the detail on the tree!

Frank Brunner can turn a 15 minute concept sketch into a comics art masterpiece!


I'd done a lengthy search for an interior artist, including talking with local university art professors about their graduate students. But when these artists got a blank look on their faces whenever I'd talk about things like two-point and three-point perspective, I started looking at artists with actual professional comic experience.

David Brewer did the first two issues of Volume 3, until scheduling conflicts with the skateboard company for which he was also producing artwork forced him to drop off the project.

That's when I hired an even more experienced veteran of the comics industry: Dave Simons. Below is my sketch for his first page of artwork, and the final page as published, without type.


The decision to hire professional artists turned out to be a very good move.

Since I'd always planned to draw the art myself, I probably gave both Frank and Dave way more information than they really needed, with scripts that made Alan Moore look lazy, plus page sketches and lots of photo reference.

One day Frank called and asked if I gave Dave as much information as I gave him. I replied that Dave had just asked me the same question about Frank. They each took that overload of information and did a magnificent job of getting it right. As artists, they understood how I had a vision for the final product, and gave me exactly what I wanted to see. They were the definition of what it means to be a professional!

With Wild Stars Volume 3, I did a lot of different things to make these books unique. Each issue was done as a stand alone story, telling the tale of a different group of characters, with a beginning, middle and end. When the series is put together, you get an even bigger story.

Another trick was making the covers interactive with the stories. With the scuba diver cover on #3, because of the impending shark attack, most people don't notice the diver is digging Spanish treasure out of the coral. In the story, this wasn't revealed until the last panel.

Issues #4, #5 and #6, the covers all featured scenes not seen in the interiors, or scenes presented from a different angle. In #6, a bad guy who's been chasing the Spanish treasure gives a young lady a lighter that secretly contains a bomb detonator.


As you've probably already guessed by now, I was pleased with Dave Simons' work, which accounts for 3/5ths of the Wild Stars: The Book of Circles graphic novel.

I have to give Frank Brunner credit for that.


Frank introduced me not only to Dave Simons, but also to colorist Tom Smith, whose work embellished Frank's covers. Tom's work was so impressive, that it justified printing all the covers of Wild Stars Volume Three on what was at the time the biggest, and arguably the most modern printing press in the state; a Heidelberg Press at Peerless Engravers of Little Rock.

The printing of the cover for Wild Stars Volume 3 #1 was featured on the front page of the Style Section of the July 24, 2001 edition of the statewide newspaper; the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. In previous years, the color adjustments that I'm (center) pointing out in this photo would have required a person to climb between print station towers and adjust brass screws in the ink wells. On this press, the adjustment took only the touch of two buttons beneath my elbow (To read the entire article, click this link or the image to the left).

Another technique that I used to print the covers was what's termed a 'work and turn,' where the front an interior covers are printed side by side on a 36" x 48" sheet of paper. After one pass through the press, you simple flip the paper and run it through again. In this way I was able to also print color on the inside covers, without the costs of another plate change and press setup. This enabled me to run the colorful landscapes of Mary Tierney as an extra bonus throughout the run. And her paintings weren't just colorful decorations. Some related directly to the story. But that, as they say, is another story. Right now..

It was time to get the game on!

Adapted directly from Under the Wild Stars, the first issue of Volume 3 was a prequel to the Wild Stars comics published in the 80s.

In those Eighties comics, Erlik and Akara had been worried about protecting Earth from the planet-ravaging Brothan. As the first page of V3#1 shows, the Brothan were already here... years before!

And Earth's timeline was different from what we know today. On this Earth, America was never colonized, and the First Nations of the native Americans ruled the continent into modern times.

Unfortunately, when fascism arose in Europe, there was no one to stop them from global domination. As the First Nations were about to fall under the heel of the fascist Artomiques, a KanZe shamaness sent one man back in time, a man descended from the Kelts who'd migrated to the continent centuries before. His departure changes the world in an instant, creating the world we know today.

The question is; which is the real world? Only those at the epi-center of the event survived intact through the reality shift. Of special note; watch in the background for the only series appearance of the Wild Stars warrior named Vickerus.

It's been Five Years since the reality shift, and the Artomiques have been consolidating their power in our reality, reestablishing contact with their Brothan allies.

Told from the viewpoint of Georgian Raveling, Volume 3's second issue shows how he has been assigned to continue the search for the missing KanZe Shamaness and her apprentice, Songwolf.

Meanwhile, Genghis Champlain and their leader, Achilles Hister, journey into space with the Brothan to follow a Wild Stars ship recently launched from Earth.

Rosetta Stonewolf, the KanZe Shamaness, is in the coal mining town of Argenta, having an encounter with a Civil War ghost and his descendent, Sheriff Onery Honorman.

This issue is the one that diverted the most from the novel, Under the Wild Stars. As a movie differs from a book, a comic also relies on visual action. For this section, there were too many subliminal things going on, so I made some important changes. The roles of two different sheriffs, past and present, were combined into one. And, to give the character more depth, I borrowed from an old short story of mine about the effects of clear--cutting forests, and of the ghost of a Confederate soldier, whose spirit had bonded with the seedling of a Black Oak tree that germinated in his blood.


Volume 3's third issue once again changes focus, as the real Carlton MacKanaly is introduced.


Well, you're supposed to be.

The Artomiques certainly are, which is why the Artomique Georgian Raveling has employed his drug-smuggling Columbian allies to capture Carlton.

The trouble begins when MacKanaly doesn't cooperate with those plans.

This issue also introduces Alvin Phillips and the lovely Nanette... or is it Monique? She's possibly as much trouble as the Columbian drug lord's henchman, Ricardo.

This is the action-adventure chapter of the series, with under water drama, lost Spanish treasure, shark attacks, lots of gunfire, and an exploding Russian submarine.

With this fourth chapter, the events in Volume 3 have finally caught up with those from the Eighties comics. The previous two issues ran concurrently with them, but now the different casts of characters run head on for the first time!

Facing torture, Georgian Raveling reveals the true nature of the Wild Stars to a disbelieving Columbian drug lord.

Meanwhile, the Brothan attack on First Marker in Volume 2 #1 is seen through the eyes of the Brothan ship's pilot: Genghis Champlain. Their following conflict is interrupted by the appearnce of a time traveler, someone whom readers thought killed in a crash with a Brothan battlewagon, all the way back in Volume 1 #1. Erlik's corruptable nephew, Carthage is back... and he's been through some changes.

If you're wondering how Cartlton MacKanaly can be in two places at once... the answer isn't here. Only more questions, like; how can he fight so well?

Also in this issue, Daestar meets the KanZe Shamaness' missing apprentice, Songwolf, who'd been taken to the traveling space city of Magoria by the now deceased Vickurus.

Plus, Akara returns, as she escapes from the mysterious, armored stranger who'd been mind-controlling her and the Wild Stars Armada.

Picking up right where the last issue left off, "The Space Chase" is exactly that.

Both Brothan Battlewagons and the Brothan scout ship with Achilles Hister and Genghis Champlain pursue the Wild Stars scout ship piloted by First Marker, carrying Daestar and Songwolf.

This issue is also a monster story, as their flight leads them directly to a horror-ridden rogue planet that First Marker has latent memories about, which he can't explain.

It's a showdown as the Brothan and the Artomiques, First Marker, Daestar, Akara, and the Wild Stars Armada all cross paths.

There's wreckage in space when First Marker takes on another passanger: Akara of the Wild Stars.

One man and three beautiful women, one of which is a telepath, all alone far out in space. It's a battle for First Marker to just keep his imagination under control!

The focus shifts once more, as this chapter explores the background of Carlton MacKanaly, and other characters in the small southern town of Argenta.

This one's a crime story, as Carlton's childhood enemies are revealed, plus the tale of how they'd left him to drown after throwing him off a bridge, chained to a bucket of concrete.

There are reasons why Carlton never smiles, unlike the often grinning First Marker.

Add to that the fact that his parents were murdered by the father of both his worst enemy and the girl who is his one true love, and Carlton definitely has issues.

But, he's also got guardian angels looking out not only over his shoulder, but that of Sheriff Onery Honorman. The KanZe Shamaness, Rosetta Stonewolf, has taken an interest in the welfare of both men, and she's accompanied by the spirit of a Blackfoot War Chief from the alternate reality; Sharp Knife, whose body was ripped into shreds by the time shift.

Meanwhile, Georgian Raveling is in town, with his Columbian friends close behind.

Oh yeah, there's also the story of the bicycle-stealing bear. You can't get too serious, without some levity!

With no ads, Volume 3's final issue is a 64 page extravaganza!

This finale answers every question from every plotline, as every living character returns. Well, okay, not the bicycle-stealing bear. But everyone else is here.

The planet destroying Brothan escalate their war against the Wild Stars.

makes his dramatic return from netting a megalodon shark.

The location of the hidden planet, New Atlantis, is discovered.

The mysterious connection of the time-traveling Keltic War Chief to both the divemaster Carlton MacKanaly and the space-faring First Marker is revealed.

Plus... witness the secret of the Kelt's journey into Ancient History and learn the origin of the word Terror!

And all that's just in the first 24 pages!

A literary agent once asked me what my goal was with this series. I replied; "By the middle of the book, I want the reader to have no idea what's going on, or what's going to happen next. But, by the end of the book, to think that it was all so simple." By all the reviews of the complete work, I accomplished just that. Hopefully, you'll feel the same way.


In 2004, I collected all of the Wild Stars comics into one graphic novel: The Book of Circles. I titled it that way, because this series was meant to be read more than once. With all the multi-layering done to the story over the long years that it took to tell it, once you know what's really going on, you can read it again and see all the stuff in the background and details you never noticed the first time through. No matter how many times you read it, I can still point out little details that you missed... it's that packed.

For the novel, the comics were presented for the first time in the proper order to be read. The Portfolio opens the story, followed by Volume 3 #1, Volume 1 #1, Volume 2 #1, and then Volume 3 #2 through #7. Additonal pages were added, and refinements done to hopefully smooth some of the transition of having three different interior artists interpreting the different characters.

As one reviewer commented;
"It's the equivalent of a long line of dominoes being set to fall -- events happen one after another in such rapid succession..."
Which is why I've always joked that if you wear a hat when reading this, then you'd better fasten your chin strap!

But wait!

That's not all of the new Wild Stars stories so far in the New Millennium!

Force Majeure: Prairie Bay is a tale of the Wild Stars in the near future, set in a dead sea bottom named Prairie Bay, during the early years of Martian colonization.

Force Majeure is a void clause written into contracts to protect against unforseeable and castastrophic events. When such an event occurs -- start running!

The art is by Armando Gil, who is one of the finest artists I've ever seen when it comes to employing three-point perspective.

Tom Smith
once again produced the spectacular colors for the cover.

Prairie Bay was originally intended as a trilogy, but issue two remains unfinished to this day, and, not wanting to again switch artists in the middle of the story, I'm now considering other avenues to finish this tale that is so important to the future history of the Wild Stars mythos.


Available now is the 25th Anniversary Hardcover edition of Wild Stars: The Book of Circles -- Recalibrated....! Presented below is a sneak peak at some of Dave Simons new work for this book, both before and after rendering, but without type. And, yes. For those who've already read the graphic novel once, that is indeed the tribe of Tall Trees and Morning Mist on the boat, witnessing mankind's first great migration into the stars. If you haven't read the book yet, when you do, this is only another example of why the Graphic Novel is sub-titled The Book of Circles.

wsgnrecaldsp1 WSGNrecalPg8artOnly

Below is the dust wrapper for Wild Stars: The Book of Circles -- Recalibrated!

In addition to new work by artist Dave Simons, this 25th Anniversary edition includes previously unpublished Wild Stars comic pages, plus a new introduction by John Jackson Miller, writer of Iron Man and Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic comics, and several other features new to this edition! This is the definitive Wild Stars!

Ask your favorite book or comics dealer to order it:

ISBN #978-0-9748403-1-4

Or follow this link to purchase the Wild Stars on!

If you want to be reading the story in the next five minutes, all of my comics and the 25th Anniversary collection are also available in Digital Format. To read online, or after downloading, simply follow this link to my page at:

They are also availble to be read on the Apple App and iBooks Store, Android Marketplace, Amazon Kindle Store, B&N Nook store, Graphicly storefront, Comixology storefront, and Google eBookstore or directly through:.
Devil's Due Digital
Aside from these outlets, we are also available on iVerse, Ave Comics, My eBooks, and many other stores. To read more about the special features of the expanded digital version of Wild Stars: The Book of Circles graphic novel, check out the new Hidden Wild Stars page!


I was flattered when the statewide newspaper, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, recently featured me on the front page of their High Profile section.

Reporter Ron Wolfe and photographer Stephen Thornton each did an excellent job.
Stephen made me look good, and Ron made me sound even better.

Hearing accolades about both stores, and how my Wild Stars comics were "superior to many of the comics offered by the Big Three publishers,"
was far more flattering than anything I might ever have expected.

Thanks to all for the compliments.

high profile
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper, Sunday August 9, 2009

Wild Stars 2 Chief 17 press
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