This work is a collaborative endeavor between myself and my friend, Jack Katz, the graphic novelist and creator of The First Kingdom (Titan publishing; Inkpot award winner,1982). Jack has drawn numerous comics dating back seven decades to the gold and silver age, including such famed strips as Popeye, Archie and Bulletman. Known for the scope and incredible detail of his stories and illustrations, Jack continues diligent work on his second magnum opus, Beyond the Beyond, the sequel to The First Kingdom.

Jack is an amazing personality, and at 90 years old, has more creative drive and vigor than just about anybody (regardless of age). The First Kingdom contains over 1,100 pages of graphic novel epic goodness from the fall of man in nuclear holocaust, to their rebirth and ultimate exploration of deep space - all the while battling meddling gods over the course of 10,000 years. It was originally published in the 1970s and now has been re-mastered and published by Titan.

It has been my great honor to know Jack, and even more so to work collaboratively with him. To me, Jack is the ultimate ambassador for creativity, as he takes as much interest in the work of others as he does his own material. Working together has been a creative boon for both of us. Teaming with him has been incredibly motivating for me, seeing the drive and practices of a true master of the craft. Moreover, Jack’s pace of work on Beyond the Beyond has actually increased with the short interludes to illustrate my poems. It seems to have allowed his work on the epic to breath without slowing him down. I take great pleasure in seeing this benefit manifesting in Jack’s primary work.

Jack has illustrated about 30 of my poems so far, longer form pieces, multi-poem progressions, and a handful of haikus. He also created the otherworldly illustrations for The Last Machine in the Solar System, published by Inkshares in April 2017.

Our methodology has been as follows: I write a poem - on whatever topic comes to me - and we print it out on either 8.5 X 11 or 8.5 X 14. Jack then has full creative latitude to interpret the poem and illustrate from his own mind. I never tell him how to illustrate one of my poems, and I never would. The poems range in subject matter from war and love, to the exploration of the American West, to the nature of existence.

It appears that we are unable to post multiple PDF images of illustrated poems on Inkshares. So my next order of business in bringing this to life is to format a secondary website with the images which can be linked back here.

More to come! Thanks for following!

If you are interested in finding out more, please follow the project, tweet me @WriterMattIsaac, or leave some feedback right here.

Background Art Credit: Jack Katz (see: The First Kingdom)

Copyright © 2015 by Matthew Isaac Sobin