Forest Rose Productions Taps Sequential Artist / Illustrator David Stoll to Adapt “A Journey with Strange Bedfellows” Audio Drama to Graphic Novel

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Forest Rose Production’s two-hour long Victorian (steampunk) Gothic horror audio adventure “A Journey with Strange Bedfellows,” to be adapted to graphic novel by sequential artist-illustrator, David Stoll following on the heels of the release of composer Peter Van Riet’s re-mastered tracks from the audio drama as a stand-alone music album.

Sequential art is an art form that employs a series of images to convey a message or story. Early examples of sequential drawings can be found on walls that pre-date written communication and as hieroglyphs. More sophisticated versions can be found in handwritten (drawn) manuscripts of the 1600s. The appearance of sequential art escalated with the invention of printing presses that utilize moveable type. By the late 1800s, sequential art filled British news pages that contained the same elements seen in the most popular comic books and graphic novels published today. Graphic novels include adaptations of classic stories, as well as the introduction of original tales or as “spin offs” of pop culture mythologies. Acceptance of comic books and graphic novels as educational publications are becoming more prevalent in classrooms.

“A Journey with Strange Bedfellows” was conceived and written by writer-executive producer, Jan C. J. Jones, adapted from (or inspired by) immortal works penned by literary masters Nathaniel Hawthorne, Bram Stoker, Jack London, Jerome K. Jerome, Wilkie Collins, and Hector Hugh Munro (aka, Saki). The audio drama re-introduces listeners to classic works. In October 2014, Forest Rose Productions (in association with FinalRune Productions; directed by veteran Fred Greenhalgh) released a four (4) part episodic Victorian (steampunk) Gothic horror audio drama that is a “mash up” of six (6) lesser known classic short stories. The audio drama received a 2015 Mark Time Ogle Award for excellence in audio storytelling and was featured as an “Official Listening Selection” at this year’s HEAR Now: The Audio Fiction and Audio Arts Festival. Audio samples and free downloadable “surprises” can be unearthed among the webpages at http://www.a-strange-journey.com.

The “Journey” audio drama showcases a fully-orchestrated original music score by Belgium composer, Peter Van Riet. In June, Van Riet released a re-mastered, stand-alone album that is available for sale as a digital download or as separate tracks at https://forestroseproductions.bandcamp.com/releases. Another option allows consumers to realize significant savings when they purchase the entire album as a digital download PLUS the hardcopy compact disk (a 2 CD set) of the original “Journey” audio drama.

Forest Rose Production’s Executive Producer, Jan C. J. Jones’ three-year-long quest to find the right artist-illustrator to undertake the graphic novel adaptation ended in May when she discovered David Stoll’s portfolio and sample works on display in “Artist Valley” at the 2015 Denver Comic Con. Over the course of several conversations with Jones during the convention and exchanges afterward, Stoll’s lifelong passion for creating sequential art was apparent. David is a freelance illustrator currently living in Savannah, Georgia. Since earning an MFA in Sequential Art in 2013, he’s worked on several independent projects, including books like Imp King Comic’s Horizon and the Playlist anthologies while continuing to work on several other book projects, of which he says, “A Journey With Strange Bedfellows is the newest, biggest, and most exciting!”

Jones says, “David demonstrated dedication to ‘his’ art form by first earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff, AZ) followed by an MFA in Sequential Art from the Savannah College of Art and Design (Savannah, GA), one of the most prestigious schools in the country recognized for its sequential art program. A lot of artists try to be ‘a jack of all trades’ in their effort to make a living, and some become proficient in numerous art styles / media, but rarely are they the best at any of one of them. David’s education and his experience working within successful creative teams are invaluable assets. His work is impressive, and his style aligns perfectly with this project. With a professional, energetic, pleasant ‘can do’ attitude and self-perpetuated drive, David’s consistent diligence to follow-through is wholly appreciated. He’s an excellent communicator who knows how to apportion his time. I look forward to watching the evolution of the graphic novel over the next year.” More can be learned about David Stoll on Facebook: facebook.com/dstollcomicart.

Set in the late 1800s, the Jules Verne-esque story of “A Journey with Strange Bedfellows” follows the main character, Hunter Brown, on a quest to secure true love as he searches for mysterious Faith Geibel, the young woman of his desires. The harrowing journey begins in Victorian Great Britain, moves to Paris then eastward to Hungary and finally, to western Romania (former Transylvania). After overcoming insurmountable odds, and grave personal loss, Hunter must make the ultimate sacrifice to remain in Faith's existence. Socially shy and a bit uncertain, Hunter becomes a determined man with purpose and great inner strength over the course of his journey. There are twists and turns, surprises and plenty of blood. Suitable for ages 12 and up, the dark fantasy falls into the increasingly popular science fiction “steampunk” sub-genre. Timeless Gothic horror themes and elements are an inescapable constant that implores listeners to experience the tale by candlelight with protective bedcovers safely secured.

The 100+ page graphic novel is slated for completion by October 2016 as a stand-alone publication. When paired with the audio drama, the set fulfills an original objective to create a high quality, affordable educational bundle to be used in literacy curricula in schools and penitentiaries, to support English-as-a-second-language programs; to incite a curiosity in students for (and rekindle an interest in) classic literary masterworks while integrating multiple arts to support a wholly-rounded education.

Founded in 2003, and located in Monument, Colorado, Forest Rose Productions (http://www.forest-rose-productions.com) produces high quality projects that provide entertaining, educational, and/or thought-provoking presentations that meet the growing demands of a broad audience. Its credits include co-producing The Walt Disney Company’s (Buena Vista Home Video) Disneyland’s 50th Anniversary Treasures series’ feature, “Disneyland: Secrets, Stories, and Magic of the Happiest Place on Earth,” among others. Company owner and executive producer, researcher / writer Jan C. J. Jones, has specialized in writing for media since 1990. She’s earned credits ranging a variety of theatrical presentations and multi-media programs to short- & long-form video projects. Although Jones is a multiple award-winning writer, she has also received two (2) Telly Awards for video editing. Another original project awaiting its turn at Forest Rose is an interactive iPad project, “The Adventures of the Last Jellybean Dragon.” (http://www.jbdragon.com)

More information about “A Journey with Strange Bedfellows” can be obtained through Forest Rose Productions at http://www.forest-rose-productions.com.

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