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From Gutternaut to ‘Wire Fence’: Jake Palermo’s Creative Odyssey

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From Gutternaut to ‘Wire Fence’: Jake Palermo’s Creative Odyssey

The Journey Begins

Creator Jake Palermo has long loved comics but finds it hard to pinpoint where his inspiration to create his own started. 

I found the storytelling experience [of comics] impossible to look away from.”

“There are too many points to keep track of where it all began. But I was always interested in comics, despite how hard they were to find at first. When I did, I found the storytelling experience impossible to look away from,” he reflects. “My first comic was called Gone Feral. It was my attempt to get on an anthology magazine called Octal, but it never got published.”

Gutternaut and Wire Fence: Realizing a Dream

While continuing to try and publish his story elsewhere, Palermo channeled his love for comics into his blog, Gutternaut. Gutternaut offers in-depth analyses and reviews of a wide range of comics. It’s a space where he explores various obscure comic book genres and series, providing insights into adaptations, character dynamics, and industry trends. Palermo’s unique perspective on comics, from mainstream to indie, makes Gutternaut a rich resource for comic enthusiasts seeking thoughtful content on the comic universe

Never giving up on publishing his stories, Palermo published his first comic, Wire Fence in December 2023.

“I had been trying to publish one idea for years before I decided it was time to move on,” he states. “I really wanted to try to publish my first comic before I turned 30. I came up with a simple idea and wanted to show people that I had something in my portfolio.”

Palermo’s passion for storytelling is evident in his work on Wire Fence, which he wrote for CEX Comics. The story, set in the late 1800s, follows BBQ, a wire-slinging bison herder, and his efforts to save a herd of bison during the Black Hills Gold Rush that threatened their existence. The comic blends elements of fantasy with a Western setting, presenting a unique narrative that resonates with its audience.

[Wire Fence] received a score of 6.5/10 in a review by Lotusland Comics, which praised its character study and thematic depth.

Challenges and Future Endeavors

Jake Palermo’s journey to publish Wire Fence, was not without its challenges. A significant struggle he faced was in effectively communicating his vision to his artist and editor. Being on the neurodivergent spectrum added an extra layer of complexity, as it made it difficult for him to spot flaws in his writing without external input. 

Being able to communicate with my artist and editor without over-relying on them was a struggle. I failed to notice the flaws in my writing until somebody had to point them out to me,” Palermo recalls.

This hurdle was eventually overcome by incorporating feedback from his editor in layman’s terms, which enabled him to better translate his ideas into visual storytelling. Palermo emphasizes the importance of breaking down his vision into simple terms in the creative process, highlighting that while editors understand the technical aspects of scriptwriting, they might not represent the target audience. For him, ensuring that the visual language of his comics resonates with others is crucial. 

“You might have a niche, but you need to at least speak the visual language of casual readers,” he says.

His work on Wire Fence was with it. The comic received a score of 6.5/10 in a review by Lotusland Comics, which praised its character study and thematic depth, including its exploration of hard work, respect for nature, and the plight of Native Americans during that era. However, the review also noted the limitations imposed by its length, suggesting that a longer series could allow for more extensive character and story development.

Comical Opinions also reviewed Wire Fence, highlighting its alluring character piece and the intriguing setup of an Old West fantasy. The story centers on Deven, an orphan who finds kinship with a mysterious stranger capable of magical control over barbed wire. The review appreciated the potential for further exploration of the themes and world introduced in the comic but noted that the short page count constrained the storytelling.

Following the release of Wire Fence, Palermo is planning to continue his foray into the comic world with another one-shot sequel to Wire Fence. Originally considering writing a short story for a magazine in a pulp style, Palermo has shifted his focus due to the interest and feedback from fans and reviewers of his first comic. 

“Some people are looking for a sequel, and I’m using the feedback I got from reviewers and fans to fill in what people believe is missing,” He says.

You can find Indie Comix Dispatch’s review of Wire Fence in the upcoming first issue of ICD’s magazine in February 2024. You can follow Palermo on instagram @fracadactyl.Buy Wire Fence – https://www.cexcomics.com/product/wire-fence/

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Brett has been collecting comics for close to 30 years and is passionate about showcasing the amazing stories in Indie Comics and growing the indie community. A marketing and communications professional with a Masters of Nonprofit Management, he founded The Indie Comix Dispatch in 2020. Brett is also a member of the National Writers Union.

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