“Imagine. You have been chosen to save the world, but it will cost you everything: your life, your reputation, and everyone you ever loved.” According to Jerome Walford, creator of the graphic novel series, Nowhere Man, that is precisely what happens to his main character. Walford tells us that Nowhere Man is a psychological thriller which follows its main character, Jack Maguire, an ambitious NYC police detective, as he is caught up in the biggest conspiracy of all time. After years of being haunted by his father’s death on 9/11, Jack is granted the opportunity to become an honest-to-goodness superhero, but to achieve this; he is also called upon to pay the ultimate price. Walford said that “This multi-trade series has the heart of a classic superhero tale, told with the sophistication of a detective drama and elements of a sci-fi thriller.”
Walford’s team consists of himself at the helm, as creator, writer, artist, and producer, leading a talented team to assemble this book series. He is backed up by his wife, Amy Walford (producer), and Maya Rock, Russ Lane, and David Wu as editors. Jerome is an award-winning illustrator with over a decade of experience in marketing, advertising and commercial illustration. He graduated a Merrill Presidential scholar from the fine art program of Cornell University. Maya Rock is an accomplished fiction editor, currently finishing up her own novel and freelance editing on a number of projects. Russ Lane has had a long history as an editor in the magazine industry. In addition to writing and editing for his own start-up magazine, Russ occasionally seeks out opportunities to edit for comic projects that interest him. David Wu and Jerome go as far back as their days in college. David is a talented programmer and project manager, yet his incredible eye for detail may reveal an editor in disguise.
According to Jerome we should we care about his project because he is truly attempting something different with the superhero genre. “My goal is to establish a definitive ‘superhero’ character born out of the post-9/11 world in which we live. By this I mean less so the political controversy, although there is some of that, and more so, an attempt to create a reflection of how we have individually changed and collectively changed as a society. To me this is more than just a comicbook. It is a visual narrative effort to capture that sense of loss of hope, disconnectedness, rage, regret, and the determination to carry on, which just happens to be in this particular form of literature we call comics.”
Secondly, he is hoping to create a series that will appeal to die-hard comicbook fans, while being accessible to a wider audience. He managed to successfully publish a trio of trades in 2013 and has scheduled three more for 2014. Each of the trades is 40-50 pages in length, and encompasses both story and some background material. “This is a big story nine years in the making with lots of material for the reader to enjoy.” Jerome tells us that Nowhere Man is loosely based on a one-shot comic he wrote and illustrated in college titled The Becommers; that won him top grades in his communications class. “I always thought there was something there I wanted to further develop. On a personal level, I know what it is like to lose family members and how that changes a person, how it becomes a filter through which you see the world and motivates one’s actions. I’ve lost family under different circumstances but I can relate to the main character Jack Maguire, and I think a lot of other people can too.”
For his part, Jerome likes to think of Jack Maguire as the new spirit of New York: split motivated personality, at odds with itself and his sense of purpose. Yet with some determination and the help of those who won’t quit on him, Jack just might be able to do the impossible. “That’s my main intention, but the characters have developed quite organically over the past eight years I have been scripting this series. The current script is a better interpretation of the characters’ choices and the consequences that would occur.” Like most of the rest of us, as kids, Jerome grew up on a healthy diet of comics and fiction. “I can remember reading a great story and saying. ‘Yeah! I want to be that brave, confident, daring, etc.’ Comics are a nice way to escape in amazing adventures in a different place and time with an imaginary role model, a great place to process stuff without really thinking about it.”
He went on to share with us that he believes that a truly great story is one that lifts you away on an amazing journey to return to reality as a stronger better self. “Every kid (and grown-up kid) that walks into their neighborhood comic shop, buys trades online or gets issues on their app, they are buying entertainment and making a deposit on that kind of adventure; one that will change them forever. This is what has brought me back to comics, the small possibility that I could help move comics forward.”
Jerome believes that the thing that makes his comic unique is that there are nuances that he thinks a close reader can appreciate, these include the following:
In addition to Nowhere Man, Jerome is working on a young adult novel series titled Curse of the Griffin; which is a coming-of-age saga about Daniel, a homeless artist attempting to survive life in a town that is run by vampires without becoming one of them himself. It is an epic adventure that re-imagines the origins of vampires and puts them in conflict with refugees from a fallen kingdom of gargoyles and other mystical creatures. The first book, Daniel’s Pride was published in the summer of 2013 that garnered great reviews from Kirkus Reviews and others. “I’m currently working on the manuscript for the second book. Amy and I are also in the early stages of an all-ages comic that we will be talking about more sometime in 2014.”
You can always learn more about Jerome’s published projects from Forward Comix and on his Facebook page. In “real Life” Jerome started his own marketing and advertising studio called The Blue Griffin. “I work with start-ups and small business owners to design and program websites, as well as develop online and offline marketing materials to promote their business, ventures or creative endeavors.”
Characters, Story and Content of Nowhere Man, Curse of the Griffin, and Daniel’s Pride are © 2014 Jerome Walford. All rights reserved.
This article is © 2014 Robert J. Sodaro, D.B.A. Freelance Ink. All rights reserved.
Robert J. Sodaro is a noted comicbook historian and journalist who began reading comics during the early ’60s while sitting on the newsstand in his Uncle’s “Mom & Pop” grocery store. He has been writing about them since the early ’80s, and wrote for virtually every print comicbook publication published during the ’80s & ’90s. These days, much of his writing can be found on Examiner.com.