2023 The Year In Strange

It’s 5am on New Year’s Eve. I usually have these end of year posts typed up right after Christmas. I’ve been dragging my feet because 23 was one of the toughest years for me personally and professionally and I’ve just been dreading having to put it into words.

23 was one of the weakest sales years for Strangeville ever. SPACE WORMS flopped hard on release and left me devastated for the characters and story of what I think is my best work to date. People just weren’t there for it in the numbers necessary to justify working nonstop for over a year on one single creative project. Every Strangeville story is my child. I love them all as dearly as I love anything on this Earth. My heart aches that this one didn’t find its audience.

On top of that, I lost some of my closest family and friends this year after several years of the same. Death just keeps taking the people I love and I’m left with the knowledge that aging means this will just keep getting worse until it’s me who’s dead in someone else’s life.

With that in mind, I launched the Strangeville Comics Archive. Probably the best thing I did this year. I’m overwhelmed with the attention it’s gotten for something I initially planned as a place for people to read the stories of strangeville long after I’m gone. A digital immortalization of a life’s work, to be updated slowly over time.

We managed to pull in over 30,000 views from more than 12,000 visitors since the soft launch in March. I dropped the brand new DEATH TO STRANGEVILLE one shot which is like a cool little summary or history of Strangeville up to that point, told from the meta perspective of cartoon Strange while he fights butt-hungry Satanic ant demons. Cool story with maybe my favorite comics cover I’ve done yet. If you haven’t read it, you should check it out. I’m damn proud of the Strangeville Comics Archive.

It’s been a full, amazing, and fulfilling life even if it ended tomorrow. I’m not sweating my own ending. But what fucks me up is knowing I’m going to keep losing more people dear to me before I shove off this mortal coil. People who deserve far better and far longer lives than a goofball like me. That knowledge really got to me this year and I let some really destructive people into my circle and into my head.

I lost a good chunk of productivity this year listening to nonsense and searching for answers in religion. I tried to wrap my creative mind around things I have no business worrying about. Trying to force my passion and purpose, which is whacked out Strangeville storytelling, into a direction I had no business taking.

I sunk my attention and resources into projects that absolutely no one was asking for except for the bad players who spent the year obsessively love bombing me, trying to turn me into their pet religious conversion project. And I’m embarrassed I let them get so deep into my head that all of it spilled out publicly.

I’m no stranger to public embarrassment. I’m Kevin Strange, the director of COCKHAMMER the motion picture. I am a public clown. I don’t give a fuck what people think about me. But this year I actually managed to embarrass myself. For a person as crazy as me, presenting a consistent public image is a difficult job. I have FAR more ideas and projects swirling around in my demented brain-piece than what any individual person could ever accomplish in a lifetime.

It’s vitally important to me that when I get so far into a new project that I start publicly promoting it, that I remain committed to that project until it is finished. That’s the contract between me and the Strangeheads. I say I’m going to make something for them, and I follow through and finish it until it’s in the fans’ hands. That commitment and trust costs nothing extra. It’s just the strength of my word.

This year I fucked all that up, announced some goofy projects and started heavily promoting them publicly. Projects that had nothing to do with the stories of Strangeville or my legacy as a creator. No matter how hard I tried to make sure they were unique and authentic to me, I had no business capitulating to the love bombing Christian cultists and trying to make comics outside the Strangeville Stonerverse.

I’m sorry for that. Sorry for the outrageous religious social media posts. I corrected my mistake as quickly and thoroughly as I could. I promise I’m back on track. As I type this, I only have two pages left until TOO MANY DABS issue 2 is completed. I have a working outline for 2024 that will push Strangeville further than I’ve ever pushed it before. I’ve spent the last two months of the year writing some kick ass stoner comics. I plan to launch multiple new titles that will lean even further into the stoner aspect of Strangeville. If you’re a smoker, this next year is going to be dedicated entirely to you.

As for the dumpster fire that was 23? I released my best and biggest graphic novel this year, Launched the archive, dropped the exclusive DEATH TO STRANGEVILLE one shot, plus knocked out the 40+ page TOO MANY DABS book which I think is a classic Strangeville story with some wild shit in it.

In spite of the deaths, the wrong turns, misdirections, false starts and bad players, I still managed to do what I do best in 2023 and that’s breathe life into unforgettable characters and tell stories like no one else on this planet. Pray for me to the old gods AND the new in 24, gang. I’m gonna fuckin’ need it.

Stay Strange.

2017 The Year In Strange

2017 saw more than two thirds of the total traffic this website has ever seen. It was by far our biggest year. It was also the year I lost nearly every single liberal friend and colleague I’ve ever had. I lost friends so close to me this year, I had to re-write my living will to remove a guy I trusted so much, I was willing to put my entire literary legacy in his hands after I die.

It’s also the year I launched my podcast network and skyrocketed past 20,000 downloads due to my coverage of the Bizarrocon and Bizarrogate controversies. Speaking honestly about those two events got me blacklisted and excommunicated from the horror and bizarro small press communities.

2017 was also the year I showed everyone in those communities that their endorsement is basically worthless. I have higher web traffic than even their main hub for bizarro fiction, BizarroCentral.com. I am far more popular now without their seal of approval than I ever was with it. In fact, it seems to me like the years between retiring from filmmaking and leaving the bizarro community did little other than hold me back artistically and socially.

2017 was the year I finally drew a line in the sand and stood up for my country and my culture after years of biting my tongue in a sea of liberal writers. Yes, everything before this year WAS me biting my tongue. As outspoken and vociferous as I’ve always been, I’ve always tried to maintain an air of civility and open-mindedness about my liberal cohorts.

But Trump derangement syndrome changed all of that. It is no longer possible for me to sit by and watch so-called professional writers claim that “white men” are responsible for all of the atrocities on the planet. I can’t sit back and listen to them psychotically call President Trump a Nazi, or anyone who disagrees with their opinions Nazis for that matter. I can’t allow editors and publishers of so-called subversive fiction to publicly praise censorship and privately reject any fiction not expressly promoting and praising progressive politics.

Brilliant authors have been reduced to writing inside a narrow minefield of topics and points of view for fear of offending the alt-left feminist leaders who have taken over small press fiction. Writers who in years past have never shied away from controversy now just existing as quiet, muted voices fearing that they’ll be the next white guy to fall to the ferocious beast that is the progressive Left.

Amazingly talented artists have gone off the deep end and now just draw pictures of Donald Trump and Mike Pence as gay lovers as if being gay lovers is some kind of insult.

Worse are the soy boy male feminists who have decided that the best way to navigate Trump Derangement Syndrome is to go balls-in and pretend that their girlfriends and wives ballooning up an extra 75 pounds, growing out their armpit hair and dyeing it blue while shrieking like starving hyenas on social media about the evils of all men is AWESOME! If 2017 has taught us anything it’s that the male feminist is feminism’s biggest target right now.

These guys have to spend every night laying awake just sweating bullets hoping against hope that their number isn’t picked next.

2017 saw the closing of Lazy Fascist Press, one of the premiere bizarro small press publishing imprints. Although, ask anyone associated with them and they’ll tell you that the mysterious “market downturn” had nothing to do with Trump Derangement Syndrome nor the curious tendency for more and more bizarro authors to simply stop writing bizarro fiction while pushing for mainstream literary acceptance.

Even though the editor of LFP himself said he’s a leftist who feels uncomfortable owning a press with the word fascist in its title. He’s gone so far as to leave the press’s logo off of the last few books released by the imprint. If that’s not Trump Derangement Syndrome, I don’t know what is.

This time last year I was promoting my newest short story collection ALL THE TOXIC WASTE FROM MY HEART. I went on to publish two more novels in 2017, I DIED IN A BED OF ROSES and BEETLE BRAIN while I serialized a 4th book for free right here on this website called SHE WAS ONLY A CLOWN which is currently published through chapter 32.

My podcast READING TO STRANGERS not only covered controversial publishing news, we also recorded and released half a dozen brand new audio books from the Kevin Strange collection. I hope to get back to recording in the new year to provide you with even more audio flavor from Strangeville.

Not to be outdone, our podcast partner Jeremy Maddux launched a podcast on the Strangeville Podcast Network in 2017 called THE QUIET PLACE. Jeremy broke his own ground by covering a myriad of important social, political and publishing world topics. He was able to secure fantastic interviews with highly relevant guests like conservative cartoonist Ben Garrison, Lovecraftian historian ST Joshi, freelance journalist and tip-of-the-spear covering the Mandalay Bay mass shooting in Las Vegas Scott Binsak and many, many more.

2017 was by far one of the best ever for Strangeville. I see nothing but greatness on the horizon in the next few years, as well. Conservative voices will continue to rise throughout western culture but particularly in the entertainment fields where progressives and deranged feminists have begun to lose their choke hold on audiences.

I will proudly count myself among those new voices who offer a sane alternative to all of the caterwauling and teeth gnashing coming from the insane Left. President Trump is truly making America great again and we here in Strangeville are doing our part to make conservatism weird again!

God bless and happy new year from Kevin Strange and all the peculiar denizens of Strangeville!

From Wonderland to Sad Puppies- Kevin’s 2015 Year in Review

12074588_10154229043183098_1875444079680907625_n (1)When I first picked up my pen in 2010 and decided to try my hand at fiction, I wasn’t sure how long that experiment would last. I didn’t know if I was any good. I just knew I still had a fiery passion for telling stories, and that making micro budget horror comedy movies just wasn’t cutting it any more. It was too hard for what little payoff we were getting. Our flicks always looked like we were goofing off. But behind the scenes, my crew and I were hardly fucking around. Back to back 16 hour shoot days would leave us exhausted and raw.

Three months later we’d hit the road with the finished flick and people would laugh at us at our convention tables like we were all retarded. They were right. We were retarded for putting all of that work into movies that ended up looking like crappy rush jobs that couldn’t have taken more than a day or two to slap together. I couldn’t keep doing that to myself and my crew. 5 years and 7 movies with little to show for it had been enough.

I quit.

Now here I am, ringing in 2016 and my SIXTH year as a published author. I’ve now officially been writing books longer than I made movies. And I still love it, and I still have a fiery passion for telling stories, in spite of everything that’s been thrown in my way. In spite of the people who continue to create barriers, email publishers talking mad shit on me, refuse to pay me my earned royalties, and everything else that’s come my way this year.

I’m still here.

2015 saw the acceptance and publication of many short stories and a double nomination for the Wonderland Book Award for Excellence in Bizarro Fiction. Two books, STRANGER DANGER and MURDER STORIES FOR YOUR BRAIN PIECE were nominated in the collection category. A double nomination. A Wonderland Award first.

2015 also saw the publication of the novel I started back in November of last year. TEXAS CHAINSAW MANTIS. My 9th published book. I’ve now written more books than I made movies.

I moved out of the South St. Louis City hood this year, too after my apartment was robbed. I live in the county now and I don’t fear for my life when I go to and from my car anymore. In spite of losing all connection to the publishing house that I founded, the house that still uses my name to sell books, in spite of being unceremoniously ejected from two anthologies that I personally created, in spite of all of that, I’m still here.

I was cyber stalked, bullied and harassed by a wannabe horror con artist and his girlfriend in 2015. They’re still at it by creating multiple accounts on Goodreads.com and giving one star reviews to all my books, artificially dragging the average ratings down.

DespiteĀ all of that crap, it was a decent year. I could have written more books. Pushed aside the bullshit and focused on the words on paper. But I didn’t and that’s that. What I did do is start a really cool motivational series directed at aspiring authors called Motivational Strange. It’s a lot of fun to rant and share my philosophy and wisdom from my years in the game and people are responding well to it so far.

And right here on December 31st, 2015, I just found out that my story THE TWINS from the Weird Book magazine publication was selected by TangentOnline.com for its end of year recommended reading list. I guess these guys are affiliated with the “Sad Puppies” Hugo award group. I really don’t know anything more than that. I do know that some of the small press authors associated with the Bizarro genre seem to hate the Sad Puppies with a passion, which leads me to believe that the Sad Puppies lean conservative or at least to the conservative end of the liberal spectrum because these same small press authors are so liberal they probably bleed blue.

Which is whatever. I’ve spent all the time arguing common sense to extremist political types online that I’m willing to spend. I hate politics and I hate fighting with people on social media even more. All this Sad Puppy stuff says to me is that my fiction is being praised on both sides of the social spectrum. A pair of Wonderland nominations from one side and a best of year list on the other side.

I never wanted to be affiliated with one specific genre. Ask anybody that was in the John Skipp workshop at Bizarrocon 2014 with me. I talked about how my ambition as an author was to transcend genres and to blur the lines like Joe Lansdale or Harlan Ellision.

It appears I’ve succeed at least in some small degree in that regard.

I can’t think of a better way to end the year than with that information. See you in 2016, gang for a whole new 365 days of Strange.