Donny Cates writes;
At first the book was an act of desperation. We were both hoping that our internships at Marvel would lead to more, but it became evident that an editorial career just wasn't going to happen for either of us. We wanted to walk away from New York City having done something, and that something was Hunter Quaid.
We worked on Hunter every spare moment we had while working at Marvel. I was in Harlem Donny was in Queens, so the majority of Hunter Quaid was concieved drunkenly on the rooftops of our apartment buildings. We hired an art team, Donny knew both Melissa Curtin and Lauren Affe from his time spent at SCAD in Georgia, and thank god he did! Taylor Sterling, our cover artist, was a fellow Marvel intern and a hell of a guy. I secured funding and we got to work. But the more work that was turned in, the more work Donny realized that we both had to do. We were concerned. Although we never would have admitted it to one another, both of us had the same nagging thought in the back of our minds – Is this really going to work?
Eventually we had enough art to give to a few editors that Donny knew. We wanted to collect notes, and make changes before the con. The results were positive, except for one. I forget who, but one editor told us that our interior artist should also be the cover artist. He was suggesting that we drop Taylor's already finished cover. So, we did.
I could fictionalize an emotional sob story about how we wrestled with the idea, and fought with each other tooth and nail. But I would be lying. The book came first. I will say though, that Taylor Sterling is one of the hardest working, endearing, talents Donny and I have ever worked with so far. If anyone out there is looking for an artist, Taylor's your guy.
Here's his cover
By this point Donny and I had moved back home, him to Austin, and me back to Chicago. We worked on the book every day over the phone and through emails and skype chats and then like that, our 24 page, black and white issue of, Hunter Quaid and the No Name Dame was done. We flew back to New York for New York Comic Con, back in the city where Hunter was born. We geared up for the pitch…
For two days on the Javits center floor at NYCC, we Glengary, Glenrossed that con down to the ground. I can't even explain how it was, but our anxiety was tossed away. It wasn't even confidence, it was just go time. After three razzle dazzle pitches we made the biggest one of our lives. I kept on suggesting that we pitch to Dark Horse, Donny was skeptical. For whatever reason he thought Hunter Quiad wouldn't fit there, I insisted. We knew NO ONE at Dark Horse and had no idea who to speak to at the booth. Donny pointed and said "That guy's talking into a microphone, talk to him" and I did…
I'm not going to go into the specifics of that pitch…that's a story for another day. But needless to say we killed it. We really impressed the guy with the microphone. As we were walking away he yelled after us and gave us each his card. Turns out this dude with the microphone was none other than….well he's a big deal. (I'd tell you who it was but then everyone looking to get a book picked up will flood him) needless to say, it was one for the win coloum.
Then weeks after that we heard nothing, and then slowly the responses came in…Rejection after rejection after rejection. Finally in one final ounce of desperation I told Donny to email that guy with the microphone with a follow up of four, brand new, colored Hunter pages (seen below). Three days later we got an email back saying we had a meeting with Mike Richardson. Three days later, Hunter Quaid was picked up by Dark Horse. And now this May, Hunter Quaid will premiere in the Harvey and Eisner award winning anthology, Dark Horse Presents.
What an honor.
Since landing the HQ (As it's referred to in the Cates and Rahal homes) Donny has signed a top secret mini-series at Dark Horse that he can't talk about, (Look for an announcement on that in the near future)
I have been working steadily on my Hunter Quaid Follow up titled Catstronauts. Art by Dave Acosta and colors by Lauren Affe. Here's a little exclusive first look into that book:
And Donny and I are currently pitching an awesome mini-series called The Paybacks. Here's a little preveiw of that courtesy of Will Iversen on art and, you guessed it, Lauren Affe on colors:
Follow Donny and Eliot on their tumblr at http://123tenstudios.