The Secret Voice

The Secret Voice is my own personal version of an epic fantasy saga. Because I’m me, it’s a trippy, sometimes meandering affair that’s just as focused on the sense of space and atmosphere as it is on the big picture plot stuff. This is me pouring all my love of adventure & fantasy narratives, artcomics, manga, and eurocomics into one misshapen container. It’s about a big olde fashioned land war driven by the invasion of a despot, it’s about a bunch of weird psychic warrior monks, it’s about wild kung fu magic battles, it’s about monsters and supernatural beings.. But it’s also about someone over their head and not being honest with themselves or the people they love, and figuring out how to own their mistakes.

The main thrust of the series is this: there’s a previously impassable mountain range known as the Great Mountain Shelf separating these two parts of the world of The Secret Voice, and the first chapter picks up in media res after one side has figured out a way to cross this divide. Unfortunately, that visiting force comes in the form of an invasion led by the warlord Wux Heng, also known as the Smog Emperor (due to his habit of laying ecological waste to the lands he conquered). Not much is known about the land Wux Heng comes from, but it is apparent that they are more technologically advanced than the side they’ve invaded. If the setting of The Secret Voice is roughly akin to Medieval times, then the Smog Emperor’s domain is something closer to the Industrial Revolution, but even more so.

A coalition of nations stand in opposition to Wux Heng, despite the technological disparity between the two factions. Helping to organize the allied forces, pushing things along from the sidelines, and stepping in where needed, are mysterious group of warrior monks known as the Red College. While the cast grows larger as the story progresses, it’s one of these monks who is our protagonist. Doctor Galapagos, the goggled, bandaged  mystery man is the first character we meet. He is (along with his bird familiar Dalitt) just one of many agents of the Red College in the field trying to shift the balance of power and make sure that Wux Heng doesn’t get his way.

Along the way there’s brigands, underground kingdoms, cities under siege, mass warfare, kung fu, psychic battles, talking animals, ghosts, more monsters than you can shake a stick at–and that’s just in the first book!I’ve been working on The Secret Voice off and on for over 10 years, and in that time it’s run as a webcomic, been published with other material as a series of comic books, and now I’m getting ready to collect the first big chunk of it into the first of three graphic novels. Volume One collects the Secret Voice material from issues #1-3 as well as an additional 30 pages of new comics and a section of additional materials and pin ups from some of my favorite artists.

The collection will feature remastered color and art in the first few chapters. I don’t want to get trapped in a loop of revisions, I want to move forward.. but the first two issues have some inconsistencies with the later issues as I figured out what I was doing, and I want to make sure they line up as a whole. I’ve been self-publishing the issues for the last several years, but for the collection I’ll be partnering up with my friends at Floating World Comics. Floating World is both an amazing shop and an excellent comics publisher. Letting someone else be the publisher will allow me to focus on the thing I really want to do, make more comics.  Which is good, because as I write this, I’m finishing up work on the new material and revisions for Volume One, but I’ve also already got 100+ pages of the next book penciled! Time to get this party train moving.You can read the Secret Voice from issues 1-3 as a vertical scroll webcomic here, in high quality PDF form here, or in print form as oversized “Golden Age” format comics here.

A handy introduction to the “classes” of The Red College.