Queen City comic book publishers make good

CINCINNATI, Ohio (Sept. 8, 2016) – They are two local boys who have made good in the world of comic books.

Comic Book lovers turned comic book creators turned entrepreneurs who’ve made their part-time passion for spinning tales panel to panel in sequential art into a small business on display this weekend at Cincy ComiCon.

For Landon Faulkner, from Bethel, Ohio, and Nichi Hawkins, of Florence, Kentucky, Cincy ComiCon has always been part of the plan. They’ll be showing off their business, Headshrinker’s Press, Sept. 9-11 at three tables inside the Northern KY Convention Center. Hawkins and Faulkner have done the show before. This year, however, Faulkner said there’s something different.

“As entrepreneurs, we feel like we’re very close to something special,” the 42-year-old said. “We’ve had a lot of growth over the past year. There’s been some challenges, too, but that’s what makes the growth that much sweeter.”

Growth in all areas

Headshrinker’s swelled more than 20 writers, artists, and colorists building comic books. In 2016, they’ve done 13 shows, with the Cincy ComiCon one of the shows that closes out the convention “season” for them. Hawkins said events like this are hugely important to building the brand and reputation of the Headshrinker’s Line.

“We want folks to know us. We want them to reach out and touch us – in a good way. The more we can get out there and be with the collectors, fans and other folks, the more we can expose these great comic books and what we want to do as a company, which is tell great stories.”

Their range of products, 10 in all, varies. There’s a book that includes a living avalanche called “Landslide: Roots” written by Hawkins. Their flagship title “Headshrinker’s Press” has a horror bent and collects short stories from writers and artists all over the world. Their space opera title “Vorpal” follows the journey of a troubled assassin seeking redemption.

“We like to look at great stories. Our lens can focus a lot on horror, but we feel that lens has a wide-enough angle to be inclusive of a lot of great stories. So, out titles vary by genre. We like that,” Faulkner said. “And we like the titles we have in our bullpen.”

Praise from creators

One of those titles is Respite, written by Kristofor Harris, about a single father and a demon that “turns his life upside down.” Harris felt like he found the exact right place in publishing his book with Headshrinker’s.

“I have been following their work closely and feel that I have found a perfect home for my book,” Harris said.

Another title in the Headshrinker’s library is Grey. The book’s co-creator Eric Tolbert knew Landon and Nichi were the right fits for his book, too.

“The chance to work with [Headshrinker’s] is an honor that has surprised and blessed our team. Throughout the years, Grey has diligently sought out partnerships that were based on quality and this opportunity embodies the standards the team is looking for.”

The local advantage

You’ll know Faulkner and Hawkins when you see them. The stout former Marine Faulkner sports a ZZ Top-styled beard and, at events like these, adorns sports jackets that would make 1970s PGA tour pro blush. Hawkins joins Faulkner in abusing the dress code, which they hope draw a few more folks over to the table to peek at the titles.

“It’s all in good fun,” said Faulkner. “The clothes are also a good conversation starter.”

For this weekend’s event in the Queen City, the conversations will most assuredly be peppered with responses like, “Oh, I went to that high school,” or “I live just down the street.” Hawkins said being local has its advantages.

“We can speak the local lingo and understand a bit more about what people in our zip code have a taste for reading. So, being here and being able to talk comics is great,” Hawkins said.

Faulkner said the future is bright for the two local boys done good. Pried for future plans, he gave a sly wink and said, “Lots to come.” And while he’s keeping Headshrinker’s future close to his vest, he’s excited about what the three days with Cincy ComiCon will bring for business and relationships.

“Who knows? Maybe the next great comic book title walks up to us and says ‘hello.’ We hope so. We like what we see. More sunrises than sunsets – and there’s nothing wrong with that.”