To Dirk Manning, With Amber Love

23546196_BG1By Tommy Zimmer

Dirk Manning told me that cosplayer extraordinaire Amber Love's powers are strong.

I guess they are since I had no idea what she actually looked like from under her costume and makeup until I saw her actual photos on Facebook. He clarified why she was scaring me.

"She is a Dia De Los Muertos," Manning said. Manning and I both agreed he was doing way too much.

Zimmer: How did you hook up with Big Dog Ink for Legends of Oz: The Wicked West?

Manning: I recognized the stuff they have been doing a while. They have been doing real high quality books for a while. I tell people all the time that chases writing for other publishers; I do creator-owned work but I liked the stuff they were doing. It was really cool, and we started talking at a DanCon. They asked if you were to do something, what would you like to do? And I said Legends of Oz: The Wicked West which takes the Legend of Oz as if it occurred in the Wild West works much better than it has any right to. It is a fantastic book, and I told them that's what I wanted to do. They asked what I would do, and I said I wanted to do the origin of the Flying Monkeys. I've told this story before but I pitched the story right on the spot. I said, "here's what I would do," but I don't recommend it, and it worked in this case. I had the contract a week later.

Zimmer: Are you going to be continuing on with that book?

Manning: I am doing 4 issues on it, and that's all I am allowed to say.

Zimmer: What's it like working with Allison Borges?

Manning: He's an amazing dude from Italy. I have really gotten to kind of push him in some different directions; stretch some different muscles on it. When you get to issue 15, we did some very cool double page spread stuff, and seeing it come in, it is just jaw dropping.

Zimmer: Do like pushing your artist in all different directions?

Manning: I don't do it to like bully them or nothing but when you see Allison's art and I saw what he started doing, I said let's rock and roll man. That's what we kept doing.

Manning said people who are reading it have responded really well to it thus far, and he is really excited about what's going on with it.

Zimmer: How does that contrast from your other work with Nightmare World and Love Stories to Die For?

Manning: Well, it's interesting because the origins of the flying monkeys has a very strong love story element to it, and there's a lot of scary stuff in it to. I mean, the flying monkey is one of the scariest figures in pop culture. There's a horror story and love story in there. It's fun. People who have liked my other work will recognize it as a very cool Dirk Manning book in a different wheelhouse.

We asked Amber Love about if she knew anything but would only say that if anything came out, it would be on her show.

Manning encouraged her to spoil but she would not.

Zimmer: So, you have wrapped up Love Stories to Die For?

Manning: I've wrapped up the one-shot, and we are moving ahead to put together more stories; format, delivery, etc to be determined.

Zimmer: So, you have Tales of Mister Rhee….

Manning: Just got funded on Kickstarter by Devil's Due Entertainment.

Zimmer: What should people be excited about this story coming up?

Manning: It's a little bit of a spinoff from Nightmare World. But, what's so cool about it is a horror/cult/noir/Cthulhu-type thing. It's just fun. I always said if there was one book I could write forever, it would be Tales of Mister Rhee.

Josh Blaylock of Devil's Due Entertainment then came onto the scene.

Manning implored him to join the interview here.

Blaylock was excited for Tales of Mister Rhee, and said it was very unsettling because Manning was so good at writing horror.

He said he thought about tearing his eyes out at one point because Manning was so good which he said happens when you are reading a Manning script.

Zimmer: How did you guys get started together?

Blaylock: We really just saw each other at conventions, and started chatting. We got more familiar with his material, and he got more familiar with our publishing approach.

Manning: I really liked what Devil's Due was doing with the Kickstarter models and things like that; something others really aren't doing.

Blaylock: We are approaching it from the old publishing standard by going to stores across the country. At the same time if a project is right for it, we throw it a Kickstarter, toss in some exclusives and we intertwine that all at the same time. On top of that, stuff eventually trickles into digital distribution.

Manning said you could get a hardcover signed or drawn into the book through the Kickstarter for Tales of Mister Rhee.

He said they are completely funded now, and they both said it has been a relief.

Blaylock said there is interest in a volume 2, and Seth DaMoose will be doing the art on it.

Tommy Zimmer is an up and coming freelance writer and journalist from Detroit, MI. He has freelanced for various websites and local newspapers like the Detroit Free Press and Detroit Metro Times. He also is working on many comic book projects, his first which is to self published soon. At the same time, he is still writing for the Free Press, and is very happy to be with Bleeding Cool and the website You can check all of his goings-on at


About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.

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