Life is Like a Box O' Comics — by Greg

I have mentioned before that when I was 12, I was the recipient of the fabled “box-of-comics-that-big-brother-leaves-behind-when-he-goes-to-college”. My feeble brain sometimes has a difficult time conjuring up what happened yesterday afternoon (I think it may have involved a cup of tea and a nap), but I remember opening that box as vividly as any memory I possess.
It was in my upstairs bedroom, the one overlooking the glowing lamppost in the center of the cul-de-sac, and it was late at night. I am not quite sure how the box came into my possession (Did my mom drop it there for me to go through? Did my brother wish to demonstrate his move to adulthood by foregoing the comics he loved in his youth?). No matter, I suppose. This is how hobbies (and obsessions) many times begin. Simply and without warning, the results often far outstripping the original intent.
It may have been a simple cardboard to most onlookers, but to me it was nothing short of a treasure chest straight out of 1001 Arabian Nights. Treasures greater than jewels or pearls.
I honestly do not remember every single comic I pulled out of the box that night but (on my way to becoming a complete Silver and Bronze Age Marvel zombie) I clearly recall that the box contained Captain America 107, Hulk 107, Captain Marvel 8, and Shield 6. I have every single one of them to this day and will most likely be clutching them in my withered claw when I throw this mortal coil. They are more than comics to me; they are totems. Powerful and magical and infused with all that I love about storytelling. Those four titles helped fuel a life-long love of superheroes (particularly those whom act, you know, heroic).
But there was more in that glorious old treasure chest disguised as an old box. Items that would help propel another life-long obsession: That being monsters! Ghouls. Vampires, Frankenstein’s Creature, Ghosts, Goblins. Just about anything that went bump in the night. For underneath that stack of superhero goodness, there were also reams and reams of old Creepy and Eerie magazines from Warren Publishing.
And, oh, the glories held within. Tales of grave robbers and werewolves, demons and darkness, unfolding in gorgeous black and white. It doesn’t take a great deal of imagination to draw a straight line from those Warren mags to Kaleidoscope’s current roster of “A Dark And Stormy Night” and “Pandemonium”. One would not exist without the other.
Which all goes toward the idea that one needs to be open to the wonderful accidents in life, the ones that change your path in a positive direction. No question that discarded box of comics changed my life. One wonders what would have become of me had it been instead filled with Harlequin Romances?

Celebration, Not Denigration — by Greg

We love to tear things down. It’s part of human nature, I suppose. Albeit a rather nasty and petty part of human nature.
The joy we feel watching someone we admire achieve success is matched only, it seems, by the startling glee we feel watching their inevitable downfall.
We revel in any bit of salacious information we can unearth concerning celebrities of all kinds — athletes, actors, musicians, writers. Infidelity, drug abuse, law suits. We’ll take what we can get. Anything to knock the high and mighty from their pedestals, ignoring, of course, that those very pedestals were built by us.
Kaleidoscope is a company with a little different philosophy and you’ll see it reflected in the essays posted here by me and Raf.
Our company name is derived from a story by Ray Bradbury, as too, on some level, is our way of viewing the world. Mr. Bradbury once advised me that one of the most important things a person can do in life is to make a list of all the things you love in the world … and celebrate them! And if you can reach out to the people who have inspired you over the years and let them know how important they are to you, then by all means make that happen. (It should come as no great surprise that the first person I reached out to, in order to profess my undying love and gratitude, was one Ray Douglas Bradbury).
So that is what we will try to do here. Are there artists whose work leaves us cold? Sure. Writers that we simply, for whatever reason, cannot connect with on any level? Of course. Musicians who make us want to fling our iPods across the room? You betcha. Reality star ‘celebrities’ with no discernable talent whatsoever that make our blood boil? No question.
But sometimes people (particularly in the relative safety of the Internet), get so caught up in denigrating the things they hate, they forget to appreciate the things they love.
To say nothing of the fact that many of the most reactionary venom from ‘fans’ seems based not so much on the artists’ work but on the critics’ own frail self-esteem and stifling jealousy.
And so … we prefer to leave the doubters and haters and perpetual dark clouds to look elsewhere.
At Kaleidoscope we just want to share the love, baby. Share the love.

The Journey Begins — by Greg

An astronaut, tossed into the great ocean of space after an explosion rips his ship in half, plummets helplessly through infinity, back toward earth, wishing that he could do one last good thing before he is burned to ash in the planet’s atmosphere.
Back on earth, a young boy marvels as a falling star cascades across the night sky, watching with his mother, who implores him to make a wish.
Desperation turns to beauty. Despair turns to hope.
It is one of my favorite stories by, unquestionably, my favorite writer. It came from the glorious mind of Ray Bradbury and the story is called Kaleidoscope.
As I look back over the (far too many) years, it’s possible that there was never a moment in which I didn’t hope to some day run my own comic company.
It took a kick in the pants from Rafael Nieves to make that happen. Raf, in addition to being a dear friend, is a make-things-happen kind of guy. I suppose, in my own way, I fall into that category, as well, but when embarking on a new journey such as this, it’s always nice to have a friend to urge one on, to provide inspiration. It sure makes the ride a lot more fun.
I became entranced by comics when I was a kid, inexorably drawn into their magical combination of writing and art, working in tandem like no other art form to bring stories to life. When I was about 12 (just after the invention of the steam engine), I was the beneficiary of one of those renowned “box-of-comics-that-big-brother-leaves-behind-when-he-goes-to-college,” filled with a spectacular assortment of superhero and horror goodness. I haven’t been the same since.
Our plans for Kaleidoscope Entertainment are wide and far-ranging. The response we have already received from creators is, quite frankly, astounding, and beyond even our wild-eyed expectations. (And make no mistake about it, we are wild-eyed. Especially Raf. Have you ever seen the guy?)
The following blurb nicely sums up our attitude toward Kaleidoscope and the work we plan to produce.

Kaleidoscope Entertainment, producer of high-end horror/suspense/sci-fi/fantasy comics, is a company steeped in tradition, yet with its eye firmly on the future. The comics published by Kaleidoscope honor the works of the creative greats that have come before us, while bringing you stories created by today’s — and tomorrow’s — most compelling writers and artists.

And so the journey begins. One that will take us through haunted forests and deserted towns and faraway planets and night-shaded houses and monster-filled castles. And the most thrilling part of the journey is knowing that we will have others — like you — along for the ride.