Sunday, May 12, 2013

Welcome to the City of the Dead

The Stranger known as: the 4th Horseman carries with him a darkness.
by MJ Preston

Along with generating a pile of Equinox art I also start creating work for a pictorial I was going to call: The 4th Horseman. The concept was simple enough. A stranger carrying a bag walks into a city and unleashes something that changes city into a hell on earth. Not a new concept by any means. Author Richard Matheson gave us 'I am Legend' which spawned three films adaptions: The Last Man on Earth (1964), The Omega Man (1971) and I am Legend (2007). Along with Matheson's influential novel, the film Resident Evil (2002) used biological disaster caused by an evil corporation to turn people in Racoon City into cannibalistic zombies. It also went on to become a major franchise and set into motion an epidemic of zombie movies. Including the critically acclaimed HBO series 'The Walking Dead' based on the Graphic Novel originally penned by Robert Kirkman and illustrated by Tony Moore in 2003.
After the 4th Horseman arrives things change drastically.
     Over saturation and the fact that I don't think my Artistic ability is anywhere near the caliber of illustrators like Tony Moore forced me to face reality. So after a flurry of creativity I got back to writing and abandon the idea of doing a graphic novel. At least in this particular genre. But that is not  to say that I am completely out. I have looked at a few other concepts, including adding illustrations to books. And that is because I truly love this medium of work. It is a lot of fun.
In the City of the Dead law enforcement is a must.

      The one thing I did get from this exercise was the inspiration for a couple of new books. No, not books about the City of the Dead, but characters were spawned  from these ideas.  

     Even though 'The 4th Horseman' concept has been shelved my third novel, still in its infancy, was inspired by some of what came from this exercise. My latest project, Acadia Event also has a character who would have been originally cast in 'The 4th Horseman Graphic Novel'. So all is not lost in the fall of an idea. And I still hold onto some of these pictures with an almost freakish sentiment.
After the event that uleashed change the switchman still works the railroad. 

     Although not all writers use art to spur on their creative side I believe that what you see here on this page is the inner working of my minds eye. How that comes to be is really not all that complicated. I get a visual inside my head, pictures begin to form, and from that I begin to build the characters, places and the events that connect them. I can't speak for other writers, but assume that they have a similar experience when they go down that rabbit hole.
What waits down darkened corridors is anyone's guess.

     After a computer crash last year, I lost the bulk of the pictures I'd generated in my week long frenzy, but I did manage to salvage a few. I still look back on this fondly and think to myself. Maybe there is still something there. 

    Who knows. I hang onto everything, even pieces that have been excised from my writing because they didn't work. In my den, office, workspace, I have the original draft manuscript for The Equinox which telephone book sized hulk of paper riddled with post-it notes and red ink. Sometimes I'll pick it up and leaf through it and look at what was taken out. Taken out for good reason by the way. Even that which was tried and did not make the cut is still part of me and the process. 
    Well, that about sums it up for this blog entry. Next I'll show of some of my artwork in regard to my latest project with the working title: 'ACADIA EVENT'

     I must say that I have really had fun with this Blog Hop thing that a co-host Mike from The Dark Discussions Podcast passed along. His blog is: Unnatural Selections. I suggest you check him out along with all the other folks participating in this May Monster Madness Blog Hop [See details below]


MJ Preston is the Author of the Horror Novel: THE EQUINOX
His new novel ACADIA EVENT is forecasted for release in late 2013

'The Equinox' is a tour de force of brilliant writing, fast-paced action, and gritty characterisation. 
Get your copy of The Equinox  
Sold in Hardcover and Trade Paperback
Click on the books below for more details


1. Annie Walls  18. GingerRead Review  35. Tasha's Thinkings  
2. Magaly Guerrero  19. Carmen Jenner Author  36. Stuff! Also, Things.  
3. Stephen Tremp  20. Book Me!  37. Lexa Cain  
4. Toni @ My Book Addiction  21. Design du Jour  38. Roland Yeomans  
5. QueenCicada  22. Not This Time, Nayland Smith  39. Real Queen of Horror  
6. Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh  23. FIRE IT UP! Beer-fueled Horror Musings  40. Procrastonaut  
7. Something WicKED this way comes...  24. Shah Wharton  41. Ms Misantropia  
8. Little Gothic Horrors  25. Tim Brannan, The Other Side  42. Zombie Author Rose Wynters  
9. Maynard Morrissey's HORROR MOVIE DIARY  26. Holly's Horrorland  43. Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles  
10. Kweeny Todd  27. Professor Z  44. My Haunted Attic  
11. This and that...  28. Dark Rosaleen  45. Dr. Theda  
12. L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off the Edge  29. The Beveled Edge  46. Jenny's House of Horrors  
13. The Dark World of MJ Preston  30. Candilynn Fite  47. TF Walsh  
14. Entertaining Interests  31. Jason Lloyd  48. Fallen  
15. Emily Unraveled  32. Diane Riggins  49. It Came From The Man Cave!  
16. Cinematic Catharsis  33. Lori Parker  

17. Unnatural Selections  34. Coffintree Hill  



  1. "a bag... unleashes something that changes city into a hell on earth." Simple, and deliciously creepy.

  2. Looking at your amazing pictures, I can't imagine why you haven't sold a graphic novel or illustrated someone else's yet. Maybe you should start making covers for Horror novels. I know your pics would really stand out in a bookstore. :-)

    1. I agree Lexa. The image of "law enforcement," for instance, is amazing!

  3. OK please don't take this the wrong way but you are F***ing nuts! Your work is incredible! I don't read graphic novels, but I'd make a point to read this one! So please, please, for the love of all humanity get back to working on this project! You really have something here!
    Rant over ;)
    Here's my MMM'S for today Carmen Jenner Author and Book Me!

    Happy Hopping! =D

  4. Don't give up on the graphic novel idea! Never give up!
    Lexa is totally right, do book covers for sure! Desktop pub kind of stuff.
    I love your work, :-)

    Here's my day III MMM at Design du Jour.

  5. Loved the law enforcement chick! These are amazing. Maybe your aren't hitting your target audience. But don't give up, these have the "IT" factor!

  6. I personally love illustrations with novels, graphic novels, or even just well-developed covers. They really help flesh out an author's vision and help me form a more solid idea of what to imagine. Maybe some day you'll come back to your 4th Horseman concept with renewed inspiration.