ONCE UPON A TIME MACHINE is the first major release from Locust Moon, a comic shop, small press and art gallery in West Philadelphia. The project began in the summer of 2009, when Locust Moon’s creative director Chris Stevens hatched the idea for a collection of futuristic stories based on classic myths and fairy tales. He began reaching out to local creators like James Comey and Robert Woods, and established an online presence to make contact to artists and writers across the world.
By 2010, Stevens and his partners Josh O’Neill and Justin Postlewaite had established Locust Moon Comics, a book shop that became the headquarters and ground zero of the graphic novel’s creation. More than a retail store, Locust Moon became a meeting place for artists, writers, sculptors, animators and musicians from the Philadelphia area. By the time editorial wunderkind Andrew Carl had signed on as the book’s editor in chief, the spark ignited by Stevens’ enthusiasm had become a wildfire. Pages were pouring in from Arkansas, London and Nigeria while a vital local art scene began to build around their West Philadelphia location. Artists pulled all-nighters in the store, customers became collaborators, established creators like Ryan Ottley, Brandon Graham and Jill Thompson signed on and a project that was once a lark became something much bigger.
An internet buzz began to build about the book, and in January of 2012 an unexpected email came from Dark Horse Comics. This little fledgling book, a project begun with no money, no artists, no scripts, and no legitimate prospects, just a glimmer in the eye of some passionate Philadelphia cartoonists was about to become a major release from one of the biggest comic book companies in the world.
“Locust Moon is a place built on the passions of a lot of people,” says publisher and co-owner Josh O’Neill. “It’s living proof that with an open heart and open doors you can create something much bigger than the sum of its parts.” Many of these parts will be on display at the October 10th book release party, which will feature a gallery show of original pages from the book, signings by dozens of the book’s authors, and a general feeling of almost apocalyptic celebration and comeraderie.
Editors Note- As someone that has personally been to Locust Moon Comics, I have to say that it is hands down one of the classiest establishments that the comic book industry has to offer. There are very few comic shops with the personality and sense of community that Locust Moon seems to exude effortlessly. If you are in Philadelphia or the surrounding area, I cannot recommend stopping into the shop highly enough!