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The Tale of the “Tales”

By Ed Hawkins, writer of Tales from Lost Vegas, Tales from Fremont Street

Maybe you’ve heard, maybe you haven’t, but I’ve written a comic book titled Tales From Lost Vegas. It’s a spiritual followup to my 2011 book Tales From Fremont Street, and the third book in what is turning out to be something of a series. I’m pleased to announce that Tales From Lost Vegas, which is being funded through a kickstarter campaign, has reached its funding goal of $6000. As nice as that is, that doesn’t mean you should stop pledging, and I’ll explain why, after a brief digression about the book and what we’re trying to accomplish.

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I wrote Tales From Fremont Street as part of my involvement with the Vegas Valley Comic Book Festival. The VVCBF is a free, one day, comic book show that is held in the lobby and on the grounds of the Clark County Library. The goal of the show is to promote and advocate for child literacy, and it runs pretty much like any other comic book convention you may have been to. We have guests, panels and exhibitors. It’s a small, but growing, show that attracts some notable guests, is a lot of fun, and because admission is free, attracts a lot of families and children who otherwise might not be able to attend something like this.

The idea of publishing a comic book in conjunction with the show just seemed like a natural convergence of goals and energy. In 2009, Pop Goes The Icon, run by Pj Perez, released Tales From The Boneyard, and anthology comic with stories all set in and around the famous Las Vegas Boneyard. A place where old casino signs go to die. The book was well received and the next year I was approached to help write the followup, Tales From Fremont Street.

Tales From Fremont street is an odd and beautiful creature, born of a creative process that was two parts creative experiment and one part serendipity. Like its predecessor, it was still an anthology book with stories surrounding the titular area. Unlike it’s predecessor, it had a narrative structure and linear story arc.

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I wrote the first story, introducing the protagonist, who has already been murdered. Then I wrote several characters and provided them detailed descriptions and backgrounds. Each of these characters were provided motive and opportunity, and were delivered to other creators with only the following restrictions; develop this character in any way you want, with the exception that they are not the murderer. I then selected the single remaining character, and wrote a conclusion depicting the murder. Each of us worked in isolation without consulting the others, and PJ crafted a denouement for the entire book.

It was a weird process that miraculously delivered something that not only made sense, but was very good. I don’t think I’ll ever do anything like it again.

Tales From Fremont Street was well received, but the single greatest piece of feedback I received from the project was “If you’re writing a comic to advocate for childhood literacy, then maybe a noir story about murder, prostitutes and drug trafficking isn’t the best way to accomplish your goal.”

That’s an excellent point, and so with Tales From Lost Vegas we set out from the beginning to craft an all ages story in full color that would be appealing to a younger audience, but not alienate an older audience. I think we’ve succeeded.

Ed Hawkins (left) and PJ Perez (right)
Ed Hawkins (left) and PJ Perez (right)

 

Tales From Lost Vegas is the story of three middle school friends who become trapped in a secret labyrinth of tunnels beneath the city of Las Vegas. The tunnels are a remnant of the Hughes age of super science and industrial might, and lead the children on an adventure that pits them against robots, giant ants, and cybernetic henchmen against the backdrop of a decades long conspiracy. I’m not going to lie to you, it’s a lot of fun, and I’m very excited that it’s been funded.

Here’s where you, and your additional pledges, come in. A portion of the profits from the sale of the Tales books (and you can still buy Tales From The Boneyard and Tales From Fremont Street) are donated to the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District. The more you pledge to Tales From Lost Vegas, the more we can donate to the library, and libraries are an important part of any community.